Campus Sustainability Office names top 10 'green' stories of 2010

The past year presented some major challenges for the cause of creating a sustainable society, most noteworthy among these being the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. And for the most part, the majority of the buildings, vehicles and products people make are still not made as efficiently and safely as we know they could be. But don’t despair, because there are many, many reasons to be hopeful and proud of our progress. Penn State’s "green" progress is chronicled in the “Blue White and Green” section on Penn State Live.

“It is so important to remember and celebrate our successes; it gives us the insight and energy to move forward.” said Erik Foley, the director of the Penn State Campus Sustainability Office. “That is why I felt it important to review the more than 75 stories in Penn State Live’s ‘Blue White and Green’ section and put this list together. We can see how far we’ve come; then go even further.”

Readers can view a complete list of 2010s Blue White and Green stories by clicking on the link above or selecting "Blue White and Green" from the "Hot Topics" menu on Penn State Live. Readers are encouraged to subscribe to the RSS feed so as not to miss new stories in 2011.

So, from $129 million in research funding to the greening of hip-hop artist Drake’s concert at the Bryce Jordan Center, here are the top 10 Green Penn State Stories of 2010 that appeared on Penn State Live.

Secretary of Energy, Pennsylvania governor celebrate energy grant -- Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010

Dignitaries including U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell celebrated a $129 million grant focused on making buildings more energy efficient at an event at the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard on Monday afternoon. The $129 million grant, officially announced at the end of August, includes money from the U.S. Department of Energy and an additional $30 million from Pennsylvania. It marks the beginning of a major five-year research project in creating more energy-efficient buildings.

Penn State implements new sustainability tracking system -- Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010

As national and global attention to environmental sustainability increases, many in higher education, industry and government are unsure of how to actually quantify and measure progress in this new area. Penn State is taking a leadership role as a charter participant in the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) program, a new sustainability tracking system developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This year, data will be collected in key sustainability "credit areas," spanning student life, curriculum, research, operations, planning, administration and outreach.

Renowned Experts Speak on Campus to Advise Strategic Sustainability Planning Process

In 2010, the University embarked on an ambitious journey to develop a Strategic Plan for Sustainability. A planning team held input sessions with corporations, University leadership and benefitted from the guidance of renowned experts in the field. Noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben spoke Oct. 4 in the HUB-Robeson Center about his work with and raising awareness about climate change around the world. His talk, "The Most Important Number in the World," was part of the annual Colloquium on the Environment speaker series. On Oct. 21, Anthony Cortese spoke at the Penn State Forum. In his talk, he said "Sustainability is not just about the environment. It's really about how to make a better world for everyone now and in the future. The efforts you do to deal with sustainability initiatives are really a new orientation for the betterment of society. It's about better ways of trying to meet human needs." For more information about the University’s Strategic Plan for Sustainability planning process, visit online.

Penn State recognized as national leader in green power use -- Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For the fourth year in a row, Penn State leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the nation among colleges and universities in the amount of green power it uses, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Challenge. Green power sources avoid environmental impacts and produce no human-caused greenhouse gases. At present, Penn State purchases almost 84 million kilowatt hours of green power -- about 20 percent of the electricity the University consumes -- generated by biomass, small hydroelectric sources and wind.

Penn State to hold “Leading the Green Challenge Conference” March 3 -- Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

The Penn State Leading the Green Challenge Conference was held March 3 at The Penn Stater Conference Center on Penn State's University Park campus. The conference was designed to provide Penn State faculty and staff with the latest information about "greening" the workplace. More than 250 people attended, and another Leading the Green Challenge Conference was held at Penn State Great Valley on Nov. 8, and brought together representatives from six campuses. In 2010, the number of employee-led Green Teams at Penn State soared from 15 to more than 40 teams.

Penn State receives $5 million for smart grid workforce development -- Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Penn State has received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for workforce training and development in smart electrical grids. The government program is designed to modernize the nation's electrical grid and implement smart grid technologies in communities across the country. The grant will fund the proposal "Workforce Training for the Electric Power Sector" and create the Smart Grid Training and Application Resource (GridSTAR) Center. The project's principal investigator is David Riley, professor of architectural engineering and director of the Center for Sustainability.

New two-year degree at Penn College focuses on renewable energy -- Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010

Beginning this fall, Pennsylvania College of Technology will offer an associate degree in renewable energy technologies that will enable students to develop the practical skills to install, troubleshoot and maintain photovoltaic, wind-turbine and solar-thermal systems. Students already are getting a look at renewable energy through installation of photovoltaic panels on the college's main campus.

Penn State team finishes third in national EcoCAR contest -- Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Penn State's entry placed third overall in the national EcoCAR: The NeXT Challenge's Year Two Finals, held May 17-27. The three-year competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), challenges engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated car to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions while maintaining its utility, safety and performance.

Penn State Eco-Rep Program recruiting paid representatives -- Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Penn State Eco-Rep Program was launched this year as a partnership between Housing, Residence Life and the Campus Sustainability Office, and the Department of Psychology. In July, the program started recruiting first-year students for paid positions in the residence halls for the 2010-11 school year. All incoming first-year students were eligible and encouraged to apply. Hired students are now living and spreading the green word to over 4,000 of their peers in East Halls.

Drake draws attention to Penn State's commitment to renewable fuels -- Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When hip hop artist Drake brought "The Far Away from Home Tour" to Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center on April 9, college students got to take part in more than a party. They also participated in several events designed to raise awareness of environmental issues and promote sustainability. As part of the Reverb Campus Consciousness Tour, the artist's tour buses and trucks were refueled with ASTM-certified B20 biodiesel fuel (20 percent biodiesel) in a one-hour renewable fueling event. Penn State was chosen as the first stop of Drake's national tour because of the University's pioneering work with biofuels.

Last Updated January 19, 2011