Blue Goes Even Greener at USU
Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010
- Nearly all of USU’s Aggie Shuttles, which transport nearly 1 million people a year, run on compressed natural gas. It is the state’s only alternative-fuel bus system in higher education.
- USU’s central heating system burns natural gas, reducing air pollutants in Cache Valley by more than 230 tons annually.
- The student-run Aggie Blue Bikes program provides bicycle loans to students and employees free of charge.
- The campus has several low-water-usage gardens, which showcase native plants and have interpretive displays that encourage people to garden with water-efficient plants.
- Over the past 15 years, USU has retrofitted 3.5 million square feet of space with efficient fluorescent lighting, reducing the university’s energy usage by 30 percent.
- The university runs the Utah Botanical Center and Utah House in Kaysville and the Swaner EcoCenter and Preserve outside Park City. These centers preserve the natural environment and educate visitors about living in ways that conserve natural resources.
- Even with a 20 percent increase in the student population since 1990, the university has managed to keep energy consumption to a minimum, increasing by only 1 percent during that time.
- Several major university research projects revolve around sustainability, including research on intuitive buildings that save energy and research aimed at developing biofuels from algae growth and from plant growth on previously unused municipal land.
- Climate neutrality and sustainability will become a stronger part of the general education curriculum, which is already a strength of the university’s. At present, upwards of 50 faculty members teach some 70 courses that address sustainability or climate change topics.
- The state of Utah recently adopted policies that will require all new state buildings to meet at least LEED silver standards, and new campus buildings will comply. Currently, USU has two buildings that hold the highest ranking — LEED platinum.
- A new policy requires all new vehicles purchased by USU to be hybrid or alternative fueled and “right-sized” for the intended use.
- The university will work with its regional campuses and other communities to initiate a traveling road show throughout the state to explore and implement ideas to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
- The university’s SOAR and Connections programs for incoming freshmen will offer workshops and exhibits focused on sustainability.