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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.

September 30th, 2009

  • Location: Sayles 252
  • Time: 4:00 pm
  • Present: Mike Kowalewski, Mark Kanazawa, Steve Spehn, Tess Dornfeld, Hannah Heavenrich, Kate Dorwart, Danica Lance
  • Guests: Special Reports from Steve Spehn and Fred Rogers Present STAs: Arpita, Ryan, Michelle, Ben
  • Secretary: Katie Blanchard
  • Keywords: EAC Minutes
STEVE: 1. President's Climate Commitment Plan: -Will be due in January. We got an extension. -What's left: Putting together a plan that sets how and when we will become carbon neutral. Included in that: how we are going to engage the community in the plan. We currently have a rough draft (very rough). There hasn't been much discussion outside of what Rob Lamppa and Chris Erickson (5th year intern) did last year. This means pretty significant changes. 90% of our carbon equivalents = heating and electricity generation. Questions: -do we want to do it directly/indirectly -Steve is bottom-lining it -consultant? -EAC reviewing it? 2. Turbine: -2nd wind turbine: there is a donor, working on sourcing an appropriate turbine and location: now looking at Mike Peterson's land. Big difference: we will take the power generated directly into campus, not selling it to Xcel. And should we think about a 3rd? And ownership/financing? There are lots of incentives that private developers can get that aren't available to a college, but trying to figure out how to take advantage of that. 3. Facilities Feasibility study of other alternative energy sources: Study of geothermal and solar hot water on CMC, libe, etc. In a nutshell: solar had long paybacks, geothermal had a 9-14 year payback. all different with tax incentives, but college isn't always eligible. Double good: we take capacity off the steam plant, don't have to talk about adding another boiler, etc. 4. Arts Union: Questions of utilities infrastructure? stand-alone or will it be tied back into campus? Design has been reduced. What kind of utilities? We would do minimum LEED silver---but how does LEED apply to renovation work? That is the question. 5. Review of Steam Plant: Look for more efficiencies, better operating methods, improvements, retrofits, have had a couple different consultants. Cogeneration? Can we dial down some of the current operating levels? We could gain perhaps 15-20% efficiency through small changes. ex. we have pretty high pressure right now because we have to heat the rec center, which is far away. Mark: Plans for other structures (buildings) that will impact sustainability? Fred: With a new president will come new campus plan evaluation. Maybe not this year, but next couple years, there will be some discussion. If the arts union goes forward, we would take down Arena theater: what do we do with it? Renovations to Laird Stadium---light the field? Doesn't see any huge buildings on the horizon. Mark: How do we add the rest of the beds that Res Life recommended? Fred: There isn't a specific plan for that. Maybe build new Wellness Center, reclaim Davis? etc. Mark: Who has to sign-off on the PCC plan? Fred: That will be determined by the scope/intensity of the plan. Katie: What priority is sustainability being given by top administrators and the trustees? Fred: Turbine for example: Changes in the economy = turbine time-line changed. The funding is no not a one-time gift, now it's spread over 2 years Mark: How can the EAC be involved? Fred: We need to give an appropriate picture of what-all is going on. We haven't done enough common understanding of what is actually going on, the data. We need to do a lot more discussion about the objectives of the PCC plan. They are going to be capital vs. philosophical trade-offs. Do we want to buy recs? Fred: Other things: -we have had no data about distributed energy use on campus. we now have a building-specific meter system. -lighting issues -no AC in new dorms -transportation: can we make a significant impact with the changes we have made? -SRF use/progress? - our input about the 5th year intern would be helpful A lot of sustainability initiatives require big-time capital, but a lot of things also DON'T: they are issues of information, controls. Any ideas that we have about things that we should focus on, even if they have been discussed before, should be brought up again/discussed/reviewed. There is a sustainability-enhancement in any new work on campus buildings, in renovations, etc. there isn't a lot of upper-echelon mystery about this stuff. Mark: Macalester just released a big sustainability plan: we need to review it. Sustainability needs to be a part of decision-making. What is our role? How can we be inserted into the process? Fred: We need to keep Steve updated, we need to reconceive Rob's job, we need to think about the ENTS intern position. The thing that will most influence all of this is the PCC. Katie: So what about the PCC? Fred: It was a failing to not make this a bigger conversation earlier. Now: not the priority of the trustees (search for a new president will be the priority). More people don't need to care about it, we just need to get it done. Right now we do not have the resources to apply to it fully. Emphatically NOT convinced that we're going to get there by January. PCC Discussion: Ben: What is the process by which the plan will come together? how are we going to be involved? when and how will that happen? Fred: Did you see the draft that was done last spring? Ben: No. Fred: So....that plan needs to get vetted out in the larger Carleton context and we all need to give it some input. How far it needs to go in terms of administration? depends on the extent of the plan. We need: staff person, maybe a consultant/advisor, author/authors to present it to EAC and the administration. not that complicated, just needs to happen. The EAC will be the main advisory body to a draft of the plan. Katie: I don't think we need to blame Chris and Rob, they did a lot of work. Arpita: So who's it going to be? Steve: Can the STAs do some research on already-published plans? Fred: Ok, but we need the technical research too. Arpita: It would be sad to rush this process and not take it seriously. Mark: We all have full-time jobs, are we honestly going to be able to work a lot on the PCC? More time would be better, means we can have more meaningful input. Fred: Yes, plus we were missing more resources last year. Arpita: This needs to not keep being pushed back. Extra time does not mean INDEFINITE time.