An innovative approach to “recycling” homes built for past Solar Decathlons and turning them into sustainable student and faculty housing, combined with a geothermal project that will cut campus energy use in half, helped Missouri University of Science and Technology win a 2013 Climate Leadership Award.
Missouri S&T received the award from Second Nature, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in higher education. Second Nature announced the recognition Wednesday.
“We are honored to receive this national recognition for what we believe are very pragmatic yet bold approaches to sustainability,” said Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader.
“Our Solar Village is the only neighborhood of its kind on any university campus, and it demonstrates the feasibility of green, low-impact living while highlighting the creativity of the students who designed and built those homes,” the chancellor said.
“Our geothermal energy system is one of the most comprehensive to be undertaken on a university campus,” Schrader added. “I believe it, too, will become a model for other institutions to emulate.”
The Climate Leadership Awards are presented annually to colleges and universities whose leaders have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
To be eligible for the award, institutions must demonstrate innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability and climate mitigation and adaption, said David Hales, president of Second Nature.
Missouri S&T was one of 20 finalists for the 2013 Climate Leadership Awards. S&T was selected for its pragmatic approaches to sustainable energy use. Specifically, the campus was cited for two initiatives:
• The S&T Solar Village, a living laboratory of four solar-powered homes built to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in past years. Currently occupied by faculty and students, the homes operate on their own solar energy grid, feature sustainable building practices and feed into a prototype community solar storage bank.
• A comprehensive geothermal energy project, which will supply energy and chilled water to much of the campus when completed in 2014. The system, which will replace the university’s 60-year-old power plant, is expected to save more than $1 million in energy and operational costs annually. It will include approximately 700 wells with pipes creating closed geothermal loops to serve four campus geothermal plants that will provide energy to the campus.
In April, Missouri S&T also won a video contest sponsored by Second Nature in conjunction with the Climate Leadership Awards.
The month-long contest featured videos about the sustainability initiatives of all Climate Leadership Award finalists. Missouri S&T’s video focused on the Solar Village and the geothermal energy project.
Final winners of the Climate Leadership Awards were chosen by members of the Second Nature Board of Directors unaffiliated with American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment signatory schools.