Minutes of the Environmental Advisory Committee

EAC meetings are open to the public. Minutes are published online after being approved by the committee members. Contact the committee chair with any questions.

October 16th, 2007

  • Location: Sayles 253
  • Time: 4:00 am
  • Present: Amy Sillanpa, Mark Krusemeyer, Rob Lamppa, Mark Kanazawa, Mikaela Hagen, Elizabeth Webb, Bruce Anderson, Bessie Schwartz, Gary Wagenbach, Mathias Bell, Alex Chohlas-Wood, Amy Sillanpa
  • Absent: Steve Spehn
  • Guests: Ray McGaughey, Eliza Berry, Vera Chang, Shaun Sawtell, Adam Smith
  • Secretary: Alex Chohlas-Wood
  • Keywords: budget, photovoltaic, composting, presidents climate commitment

Subcommittees Updates


Presidential Climate Commitment (PCC) -- Mathias
1. 1st meeting – distribute tasks
a. Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory
b. Energy/electricity
c. Steam plant (our largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, according to one source)
2. 2nd meeting – two resolutions (to be discussed later).
a. Adopt Energy-Star Purchasing Policy
b. LEED building certification – minimum of LEED silver
• Gary: Do we trust and rely solely on Sebesta-Blomberg?
1. Rob: I would think we’re more involved. Part of our EAC responsibilities should be to double-check on what they’re doing
2. Also, Sebesta Blomberg has experience in environmental consultation
3. In the inventory so far, there have been several mistakes found in the Sebesta-Blomberg inventory.
• Rob: three problems with our current GHG inventory:
1. Incorrect conversion factor between lbs of emissions/kilowatt hours
2. What is actual volume of greenhouse gas emission for steam plant? Two sets of data exist, so one should be chosen. (Mathias note: More accurate Xcel billing numbers have been used in inventory)
• Gary: We should share GHG inventory with the public
• Rob: Once this is correct we can use it as a baseline and share data with American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Also, note that other schools are facing this problem.

Note: The first report is due Nov. 15th to AASHE and the PCC. EAC should be involved in making sure everything is right.
Clarification: AASHE and PCC are partners.


Sustainability Revolving Fund (SRF) -- Bessie
1. Currently working towards a finished charter. Also establishing the procedure for application and selection.
2. Hope to review first applications in January
3. New member: Sam Ritter, who is also on CSA's Budget Committee.
4. Plans for near future: approve application template, look over charter and distribute to CSA for approval soon.
• Elizabeth asks: should the application be direct or general? Some questions might not seem relevant… it could be easier for the SRF committee to be more straightforward with what they're looking for.
• Clarification: Students are the only members of the Carleton community that can apply though faculty and staff involvement is encouraged.

Transportation -- Adam
1. Reviewed projects from previous years, with the hope of carrying them through this year
2. Reviewed PCC's recommendations, and objectives of the EAC
3. Comparison between different modes of transportation's production of GHG.
4. Four possible projects:
• Establish car-sharing program, enact vehicle-purchasing regulations
• Examine Carleton's different public transportation options with respect to GHG
• Look for possible offsets to air travel
• Set up carpooling service. Amy Wilson capstone will address these issues.


Composting -- Mikaela, Shaun

• No meeting yet. But updates:
o Field trip to composting site is this weekend.
o Problems with contamination, with people not understanding how new system works. Working to distribute information.
• Earthtub
o EPA project approved this summer. Shaun set up a meeting about using the Earthtub for townhouses and interest houses. Productive meeting, but there are possible problems with transportation to the site.
o No look to the future, since right now they're trying to focus on setting it up. Not an attempt to replace current large-scale composting system (which works well).
o If houses don’t provide enough supply, we can supplement this with composting waste from the dining halls.
o Practicalities:
• Needs electricity to keep up temperature
• Needs to be churned and chemically analyzed weekly… grounds will take care of that.
• Work with restrictive composting list first, and then open up when these methods work.


Communications -- Mathias
• Green Network update: comprised of various groups: MPIRG, Food Truth, SOPE, Sustainabilty Assistants, EAC student members
• Next Green network meeting: Wed. 24


Announcements

• Composting field trip -- Saturday at 10AM. Additional room unlikely.
• EQC meeting tonight at 7PM.
• ENTS bringing Kerry Emmanuel tomorrow talking about Climate Change and Hurricanes
o Information discussion in Olin 103 afternoon.
• Food Truth/Dining Task Force -- Vera Chang
o Board met yesterday, currently writing proposal. Also getting signatures on petition for sustainability in dining.

o Emphasis on commitment to local, organic, fair treatment of animals, fair trade, conservation, biodiversity, fresh, healthy options, social responsibility.

o Local café talk next week.

Budget – Mathias

• What are our guidelines? In the past, how have we budgeted? What could we do this year?
• From 2001-2006, no one knew we had a budget, and it accumulated over those five years. After its discovery, the EAC utilized it for some initiatives.
• Possibilities:
o AASHE membership is important; keep them in? Also, we have funded internships … something we may talk about in the future.

o Cut food expenditures

o Co-chairs communicate about priorities for budget; EAC approval of large expenditures.

o Separate SRF Budget from EAC Budget

o Make access to guidelines public and current

o EAC annual budget should be spent -- we should not hoard

funds. Carry-over, however, should be used conservatively.

• Draft revisions for next meeting.


Photovoltaic (PV) Shingles/ PV application -- Rob, Mark Kanaza

• Carleton inherited a number of PV shingles when a local household using them decided not to renew a contract with Xcel.
• Haven’t yet finalized a location.
• Possible educational/demonstrative use? Installed at the new arts center?
• Emphasis on human scale -- make it something that people see rather than having it lost on a roof.
• Who decides where these go? Not clear yet, but maybe the EAC can hear proposals.
• Educational component pretty critical… we should look at this in more depth.
Side note: Carleton has requested 300 kilowatts' worth of solar cells from Xcel's Renewable Development Energy Board… we’ve applied but haven’t heard anything yet.