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2008 Fall Issue 8 (November 14, 2008)

Arb Notes

November 14, 2008
By Katie Blanchard

It’s getting chilly outside, but the Arb is heating up! Though the ground will be frozen and the trees will be naked, the Arb will be far from dormant this winter. Ever-Green Energy will be collecting the brush piles from the Arb to generate energy through their combined heat and power facility in St. Paul -electricity is going to be generated through the Arb’s waste.

Throughout the year, the Arb Crew removes enormous amounts of invasive species from the Arb, particularly buckthorn and honeysuckle. Historically, the brush would be accumulated into huge piles that would eventually be burned, which is neither a simple undertaking nor very environmentally sound. Large burns require intensive management, as a burn could take all day. Additionally, energy (and greenhouse gases) generated by such a burn could certainly be put to better use. This is where Ever-Green Energy comes in.

Arb Director Nancy Braker wanted to find a better alternative to burning brush and contacted the company about the feasibility of using Arb waste. Usually at least twenty semi-truckloads of waste must be available at a location, but given Carleton’s signing of the President’s Climate Commitment and the certainty of Arb waste into the future, Ever-Green Energy was willing to work with us. A representative from Ever-Green estimated that the Arb currently has about seven truckloads of waste, which they will begin collecting in December. A short stroll through the Arb reveals that there is plenty of buckthorn to pull, and thus plenty of electricity to generate. Anyway, heating homes with a renewable, otherwise wasted resource far exceeds the satisfaction of roasting marshmallows on a giant burning pile of invasive species.

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