CSUN taking a lead in environmental sustainability

Roxanne Estrada

Photo Credit: CSUN Physical Plant Management

CSUN has showed that it has been putting its green foot forward and leading the way for the CSU’s.  I had previously known that CSUN had a solid foundation for eco-friendly development but I never knew just how much until this week.  The Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) hosted a technical symposium about how sustainability initiatives will affect university, national and international levels.

If you want to get any information on sustainability issues, there is an exhibit in the main lobby of the Oviatt Library until April 1.  There are displays about energy conservation, recycling, water shortages in California, CSUN commuting, green buildings and etc.  There are also examples of books and DVDs as suggestions for further information.  There are so many ways to get involved with sustainability on and off campus.  Use the exhibit to find out which aspect of sustainability interests you.  And for some motivation about what CSUN is already doing, here are some Matador achievements from the Physical Plant Management records.

Carbon Footprint: CSUN’s carbon footprint has been certified at 15 percent below our 1990 baseline, putting the campus in compliance with the year 2020 goals required by California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).

Energy Efficiency: CSUN’s current energy use per square foot of building area is one third of 1970 levels; we currently have the 3rd best efficiency in the CSU, surpassed by only two campuses with mild coastal climates.

Solar Power Generation: The campus has installed 700 kw of photovoltaic within the past five years; these are University owned systems with pay-backs of less than 10 years and no energy purchase requirements.

Fuel Cell Satellite Plant: The 1 megawatt fuel cell reduces overall environmental impacts associated with CSUN’s electrical consumption by over 13 percent . The fuel cell plant achieves nearly 80 percent efficiency, compared with about 35 percent for conventional power production.

2000 Ton Campus Chiller Plant w/ Sustainable Subtropical Rainforest: This recently commissioned air conditioning plant with it’s subtropical rainforest environment, totally sustained by the waste byproducts of the fuel cell and chiller plant, is the only such industrial power and cooling plant of it’s kind in the world. This plant has recently been commissioned by an independent Engineer and has demonstrated extraordinary operating efficiency, in addition to the unique and productive use of the waste streams.

Waste diversion/ recycling: The campus diverted 73 percent of its waste stream away from landfills in 2007.