For the past ten years, Penn State has shown its prowess in reducing electricity for our utility's annual test. Last year, we reduced our use by 14MW, or 38 percent. We have a chance this Thursday, June 22, between 4-5 p.m.to beat our record. We ask our faculty, staff, and students to turn off all unnecessary electrical devices under individual control, like shutting off lights, coffee pots, air conditioners, printers, etc. during that hour.
Although University offices are to stay open and operate in a normal manner, Green Team members can help promote the reduction with creative solutions. For example, distribute ice pops to help keep people cool, have a walking meeting to the Creamery, schedule an outdoor meeting during the hour, or take a scavenger hunt to identify small appliances/electronics that are plugged in and consuming power. Let's demonstrate our capability of electricity reduction if there is a high risk of a brownout.
Bryan McDonald, assistant professor of history spoke about the intersection between environment and security around food at the Green Teams Lunch held on June 8. Throughout this talk, he referenced the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, who said "sufficiency rather than excess is not a step backward." McDonald introduced a challenging question: "How can you foster a high quality of life without undermining the ecological foundations that all human societies depend upon?" He touched on topics like food culture, food insecurity in the US, wealth and diet, and discussed a few sustainable principles to guide everyday life.
Summer is right around the corner and a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled a list of its best and worst rated products for consumers.
Sunscreen companies are failing to provide the level of SPF promised on the label package. A study found that some products labeled with 50 or 50+ had an actual level of 0-9. A poor quality sunscreen may prevent sunburn, but won't protect from UVA rays that cause skin aging and possibly melanoma.
A well-designed landscape can not only add beauty to your home but can also reduce your heating and cooling costs. Well-placed trees, shrubs, and vines can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce your energy bills. Carefully-positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of the energy a typical household uses. Check out the Energy Saver Infographic for more ways your landscaping can help you save energy and water.
As summer starts to heat up and temperatures rise, many of us are cranking up our air conditioners to stay cool. It should come as no surprise then that air conditioners use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the US, costing homeowners more than $29 billion a year in electricity costs. Instead of blasting the air conditioner and blowing your electricity bills through the roof, you can take simple actions that will help you beat the heat with a lower energy cost. Check out the infographic to find more energy-saving tips and advice on common air conditioner problems.