Opportunities with the Office of Sustainability

Sustainability Office tour of SENG construction

 

UCCS is a complete community where people go to school and work and reside, eat, and recreate. We are committed to providing hands-on sustainability education on our campus -- a living laboratory for learning. The Office of Sustainability offers employment and volunteer opportunities for students to learn more about energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling, local and organic food, to name just a few topics. As well, there are numerous opportunties for students and faculty to collaborate with the Office of Sustainability on campus projects on virtually any sustainability-related issue.



Internships

The UCCS Office of Sustainability has partnered with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (GES) to offer semester-long service project internships. This internship provides an opportunity for students to earn college credit for performing work within the Office of Sustainability. Find more information on the internship program here.

Employment

The Office of Sustainability employs students who work to make campus operations more sustainable, drive sustainability initiatives, and educate the campus community about sustainability issues. Currently, there are 3 students working in the office. As positions become available, they are posted to Sean's Place.

Volunteer

The Office of Sustainability welcomes volunteers to assist in making the UCCS campus more sustainable. If you are passionate about sustainability, please stop by our office in the Campus Services building ('CSB' in section 'E2' on the map) to introduce yourself.

Projects

There are a number of sustainability-related projects on campus that students and faculty can get involved in that would be rewarding, insightful, and a help to the university. We are a demonstration campus with regard to energy efficiency strategies and renewable energy technologies. Many of these projects can utilize an interdisciplinary approach among business, engineering, and the natural sciences, including environmental impact measurement. Projects are of varying complexity and could fulfill graduate or undergraduate program requirements.

Carbon Footprint of UCCSCarbon Footprint for school years 2008 and 2009. This can be done in one semester by either an individual doing a senior project or by a group of students. There is a tool called Clean Air Cool Planet that calculates the emissions produced as a result of electricity use, natural gas use, fuel, etc. If there are students who are interested in increasing the accuracy, a short transportation survey to assess commuting habits would be helpful.

Final product: Greenhouse gas inventory for UCCS for 2008 and 2009. Completed and analyzed transportation study to measure emissions.

Climate Action Plan for UCCS. This plan is to detail how much energy we use, project how much we will use with business as usual and planned growth, and to come up with a plan for long term carbon neutrality. Our plan for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is due this semester (Fall '09). On most campuses, students and faculty are very involved in helping to formulate the plan which will include: greenhouse gas inventory, identification of energy efficiency projects, recommendations for renewable energy sources and projects for the school, and future offsets that might be secured. The plan should include analysis of risk for various strategies and financial accounting measurements such as Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) as well as strategies for increasing sustainability and climate literacy on campus.

Final Product: Climate action plan for UCCS - students and faculty could perform research and develop sections of the plan.

Recreation CenterAssessing the energy and water efficiency of the Recreation Center. This building was designed to be 30% more efficient in both water and energy performance than a baseline building. Some questions that need to be answered: Is the building performing to design? What building systems contribute to energy and water efficiency? Are these building systems being used properly? Are the building occupants helping or hindering the energy and water efficiency of the building? There is a solar thermal system to heat the pool: How well is this working? How is it contributing to the overall use of energy? The solar thermal system is designed to provide two-thirds of the energy needed to heat the pool. Is this in fact happening? What is the financial analysis of the savings? 

Final product: An analysis of the building systems and recommendations for energy and/or water efficiency improvements.

Assessing the energy efficiency of Science & Engineering Building. The Science Engineering building is designed to be 30% more energy efficient than a baseline building. Some questions that need to be answered: How is the building performing -- is it achieving a 30% reduction in energy use? What systems contribute to energy effiiciency of the building (ice storage, heat recovery, etc.)? Are the direct digital controls (DDC) operating in such a way as to maximize energy efficiency? Is there more that building occupants can do to save energy? There is a solar photovoltaic thin film laminate system on the roof. What contribution is it making to the building energy use? Is it producing as much as it was designed to do (and promised by the vendor)? What is the financial analysis for savings?

Final product:An analysis of the building systems and recommendations for energy and/or water efficiency improvements.

Ice Chiller
Science & Engineering Building ice storage system analysis.
What does this system do? How much more energy (i.e., coal) is required to run the system? What is the trade off in costs for reducing peak demand electricity charges? Is the system optimized to produce the greatest results? What is the optimal sequence for the direct digital controls (DDC)? Is the size adequate to have the chillers completely shut off during peak demand times of day? 

Final product: A poster for display in the building, a report, presentation.


Building Automation System control analysis on campus buildings.
In the last couple of years, UCCS has significantly upgraded our Building Automation Systems (BAS). We now have the ability to better control building to optimally match the occupancy of buildings. However, we do not necessarily have the staff to develop the optimal strategies. This could be a great faculty/student project to examine a particular building and analyze what setpoints are in place, how are they working, and are there strategies that could save energy and/or increase occupant comfort? 

Final Product: Analysis of current systems and a guide that Facilities Services uses for managing building HVAC systems.

Solar Panels on Centennial Hall
Solar photovoltaic system siting analysis
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Students passed a $5 per semester fee to pay for photovoltaic panel installations on campus.. This study would look at where are the best places for these installations, including smaller installations for light poles. Analysis would include costs for the systems, sizing, assessing rebates available, determining payback, and making recommendations.

Final Product: An analysis the most desirable campus sites for future solar photovoltaic panel installations.

 

These are just a few topics -- there are many more potential research ideas or projects in sustainability. If you have a sustainability topic for which you would like to conduct research, please contact the Director of Sustainability, Linda Kogan, to discuss the options.