Gregory Jones | Staff Writer

The voting for proposals submitted and reviewed at the last Sustainable Campus Fee Committee meeting closed Friday, March, 18. All proposals were voted on positively and soon these projects will enter the purchasing phase. Some of the key projects and their respective costs are as follows:

1. Solar Parking Canopy: $34,999 addition to the existing $65,000 project, with the new limit reaching $99,999.

2. Rain Water Reclamation System: $6,600.

3. Nutrient Management Manure Spreader: $11,000.

4. Green Power Purchase: $18,000.

5. Electric Vehicle Request: $16,000.

6. Hybrid Vehicle Request: Up to $15,000 to cover the cost difference between a hybrid and non-hybrid vehicle.

These sustainable projects will greatly improve the quality of conservation currently practiced. I think examining any one of these projects will reveal the benefits of implementation. For example, the rain water reclaimed at the APSU Farm will directly and immediately reduce the amount of water required for livestock.

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the university spent $236,477.31 on water, the cost of the reclamation project is only 2.8 percent of last year’s total water expense. While the exact amount of water used at the farm is not known, this project will lower the annual water bill, considering that cattle consume approximately 38 gallons of water per day.

Multiply by 100 head of cattle to figure how much water consumption takes place at the APSU farm. The water reclamation project will help make the most of rainfall to avoid expensive city water and poor quality pond water. More importantly, this is a one-time purchase. That is, the benefits of this project will be enjoyed in subsequent years.

The newly-approved manure spreader will also improve conservation and stainability by significantly reducing the use and expense of non-local soil fertilizer and by recycling the farm’s own nutrients. According to Donald Sudbrink, associate professor of agriculture, the cost of fertilizing all of the pastures is usually thousands of dollars annually and the nutrient management project will play an important role in abandoning a traditionally cost-ineffective and unsustainable practice.

Sustainable nutrient management will also provide educational benefits for students enrolling in courses like Animal Nutrition and Feeding, Animal Management Practices, Soil and Water Conservation, Land Use and Farm Planning and Management. These projects mark only a small selection of current and future projects which will help shape APSU as a sustainable university.

The solar parking canopy should be the first of many projects to generate electricity on campus. Hybrid and electric vehicles will phase out old, dirty combustion power. The Green Power Purchase (which should be proposed annually) will speak to TVA about our investment in renewable energy. I believe these projects are only the beginning of APSU’s long-term commitment to clean energy.

Whether as an interest in being a forerunner in the state’s clean energy plan or as a tool to recruit students to one of the premier green campus in the region, APSU will be home to many other sustainable projects.

I have only begun to explain the significance of these new sustainable projects, which I am certain express only the early stages of APSU’s continuing effort to become a more green, sustainable university. TAS