Dec 042006
 
Authors: Garrett Fitzgerald

With windy winter weather blanketing the CSU campus, many students could be seen walking with their heads down, cursing the icy wind.

There were 298 students, however, with smiles on their faces.

Those students knew that the windy weather was only helping to fuel the wind energy they bought for their residence hall rooms and university apartments.

The Housing and Dining Services’ program and those enrolled in it were recognized as a Green Power Partner by the Environmental Protection Agency last week.

“I think that’s the example that we want to set as a committed group of educated and informed people,” said Rob Ebel, a senior agricultural economics major and alternative energy supporter.

As a Green Power Partner, 4 percent of the energy housing and dining use comes from renewable sources.

This makes CSU one of only 600 organizations recognized by the EPA in such a way.

“The University of Utah and Colorado-Boulder have wind energy programs that are paid for with university funds.” said Tonie Miyamoto, communication coordinator for Housing and Dining Services. “Our program is totally funded by student participation; that’s what makes our program so special.”

Luke Miller, a freshman open-option seeking construction management major and a Summit Hall resident, was still on the fence about the wind energy project, which began in 2004.

“I did know it was around, I had seen the pamphlets, but I didn’t want to pay the extra fee,” Miller said. “Nobody really talks about it, but I think it’s cool for people that want it to have the option.”

According to the university and the EPA, the impact of purchasing wind power will prevent release of more than 760,000 pounds of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere over the next year. That amount of CO2 is roughly equal to not using 40,000 gallons of gas.

Starting Jan. 22, Housing and Dining Services will begin again to offer wind power for purchase. The cost is $17 per year for students in residence halls or $52 per year for students living in university apartments.

In addition to housing and dining’s wind energy program, senior English major Nathan Keller is trying to get the university to begin funding wind energy programs. Keller, a housing and dining employee, has been working on the project for about a month.

After meeting with the Associated Students of CSU Friday, Keller will now look toward meetings with Facilities Management and the president’s office in hopes of expanding the program to the entire university.

“Right now the renewable energy use is limited to housing and dining and their buildings,” he said.

But Keller must overcome the issue of funding.

“It would cost the university $30,839.36 more a year to get to the EPA Green Power Partner standards, if you divide that per student it costs $1.23 a year or $0.61 a semester,” he said.

Though expanding wind energy is in the very beginning stages, the ideas are leaving supporters hopeful.

“I’m optimistic about possibilities of alternative energy. The grasp on fossil fuels has to loosen, and the sooner the better,” Ebel said.

Staff writer Garrett Fitzgerald can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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To contact Nathan Keller with further questions or information about the campus-wide renewable energy project, e-mail environmentcsu@yahoo.com.

For more information on the wind power program or to enroll, contact Housing and Dining Services at 491-4314 or visit their sustainability Web site at http://www.housing.colostate.edu/green/index.htm.

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