Students seek advice on renewable energy proposal



As dusk fell on Science Hill, a group of 10 met in the Forestry and Environmental School’s Sage Hall lounge to discuss ways to make the implementation of renewable energy a more attractive part of Yale’s future energy management.

Students from Yale College and the environment school as well as members of energy nonprofit organizations, private sector renewable energy companies, and the Connecticut state government met Monday evening to discuss ways to make the Proposals for the Enhancement of University Management more persuasive. A number of the professionals present were environment school alumni who have an interest in making Yale more environmentally friendly.

The proposal, titled The Future of Energy at Yale: Proposals for the Enhancement of University Energy Management, was co-authored by Judith Joffe-Block ’04 and Andrew Kroon ’04. The proposal has been presented to both the YCC and University President Richard Levin, but Joffe-Block said it is still a working draft. The proposal provides a comprehensive plan to improve the University’s energy consumption through the recommendation of various individual programs. Some of these programs include the implementation of an energy conservation pilot program in a few University buildings, a greater undergraduate conservation effort, a commitment to greener designs for new and renovated buildings, and the purchase of green energy, such as wind and solar power.

Andrew Cedar ’06 presented the proposal in December to the YCC, which unanimously approved it. Joffe-Block and Kroon presented the proposal to Levin in a meeting last Monday. Kroon said he felt the meeting went well and the initial reaction seemed very good.

“We had initial talks, and we’re hoping to keep talking,” Joffe-Block said. “We’re still in the formulative [stet] stages of negotiation.”

Levin is currently out of town and was not available for comment.

Billy Parish, a Yale undergraduate currently taking time off to work toward improving Yale’s relationship with the environment, organized this Monday’s meeting between environmental experts and the students working on the energy management proposal. Parish said the meeting sought to elicit advice about improving the appeal of the proposal.

Elizabeth Martin FES ’04 and the co-chairwoman of the Energy Student Interest Group at the environment school suggested that Joffe-Block and Kroon add specific data to their proposal. She is a member of the Yale Climate Initiative, which has conducted a greenhouse gas inventory at Yale. She suggested they incorporate the group’s data because some of the proposal’s recommendations correspond to the group’s findings about greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

“The greenhouse gas inventory looked at all potential sources of greenhouse gases at Yale,” Martin said. “We’re continuing with a mitigation study of what to do to decrease greenhouse gases — the biggest one [factor] is energy use.”

The other co-chairman of the Energy Student Interest Group, Marco Buttazzoni FES ’04, recommended the addition of a section about possibly linking the specific energy programs with academic elements on campus. It was also suggested that Joffe-Block and Kroon discuss with other groups that are considering renewable energy, such as other universities and the city of New Haven, to highlight the importance of renewable energy in Yale’s energy management.

Bernadette Buck, the state program director for the energy nonprofit SmartPower, suggested that the proposal emphasize the idea that the University and the student proposal ultimately have the same goals. She also said it was important for the University to know that the proposal has student support.

“We see the undergrads as having the most power on campus,” Martin said.

Joffe-Block and Kroon said they hope to make many of these improvements to the proposal in the next week or two and then continue to work with the administration to develop a more sustainable energy management plan.

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