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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Administration commits to renewable energy sources

Published: October 12, 2007
Section: News

The University has committed to purchasing 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the beginning of 2008 per theAmerican College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which President Reinharz signed in September.

According to the commitments provisions, Brandeis must commit to two energy saving stipulations. The University has committed to four.

Brandeis has agreed to build new construction to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Design) standard, even if not LEED certified due to high cost, purchase energy efficient appliances, encourage the use of public transportation, along with purchasing renewable energy.

According to Energy Manager Bill Bushey, for next year, 15% [of the Universitys energy] will come from a wind project. He added, these will be legitimate kilowatts produced by a wind project somewhere in the US.

The University is also entertaining the possibility of installing its own wind turbine in Sachar Woods. Students for Environmental Action (SEA) co-President Jamie Pottern 09 explained, Bill Bushey has been looking into getting a wind turbine. In order to see if conditions are appropriate and to see if its feasible, Pottern said, a meteorological tower will be placed in Sachar Woodsto test wind conditions for a full year.

Bushey explained, were putting together a permit request for a meteorological tower where we would propose to put the turbine. He continued, we need data on wind conditions[to see] if data supports that a turbine is economically viable.

The preliminary data is marginal, Bushey said, We need more specific data. After a year, the collected data would be analyzed by an outside firm, who would then determine the effectiveness of a wind turbine in Sachar Woods.

If installed, a wind turbine could provide 8% of the Universitys energy, SEA Co-President Stephanie Sofer 09 said.

There is some concern with wind energy, she qualified. The local community, clearing of trees, effect on wild life and biodiversity, there are other factors on top of data, Pottern explained.

There is a symbolic aspect of sustainability that isnt addressed as much that I think is important, Pottern remarked;

[a wind turbine] would be symbolic, it would be a beacon. She added, its a massive turbine, you could see if from Route 28.

Co-regional outreach coordinator for SEA Jake Yarmus 10 agreed. It would bea great way of putting Brandeis on the mapit allows us to inspire other schools.

I think its fantastic how the administration has been trying to search out different techniques, Yarmus said, I really hope when the decision comes up, that its a discussion had by the whole school.

I dont feel like [a wind turbine] would be an obstruction, said Beth Moguel 10, itd be an interesting experiment. I dont really see a downside other than expenses.

Annie Harris-Kornblith 11 was more skeptical. If it works, thatd be good[but] if it doesnt help, it wastes a lot of money.

Ben Harris-Kornblith '10 was equally wary. He commented, it might be important to focus on other things.