How Solar Street Lights and Smart Benches can promote sustainability at university campuses?
Sustainability, its programs and tracking systems
Sustainability is often defined as the ability to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In other words, sustainability requires careful use of our resources, including water, air, energy, biodiversity, soil, etc. so they will be in adequate supply for the foreseeable future.
Sustainability programs include but not limited to: climate and renewables, green buildings, green transportation, zero waste, access to nature, clean water, local food, clean air, green economy, lighter footprint and greener operations. These programs became a worldwide trend so rating systems for tracking its progress are created and three most widely used nowadays are:
-LEED (to achieve more and more points a space, new or revitalised, needs to use less energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emission and use recycling materials)
-Net Zero Energy (a space, new or revitalised, that roughly produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis)
-Carbon Neutrality (a calculator is formed so reducing cabon points can be achieved through Balancing Carbon Dioxide released with renewable energy production, so that the carbon emissions are compensated, or alternatively using only renewable energies that don't produce any CO2. The other way is Carbon Offsetting - paying others to remove or sequester 100% of the CO2 emitted, for example by planting trees, or by funding 'carbon projects', or buying carbon credits to remove (or 'retire') them through carbon trading (for instance, municipalities often impose environmental (or sustainability) management system (as per ISO 14001) to fulfill Carbon Neutrality Goal)).
The zero-energy goal is becoming more practical as the costs of alternative energy technologies decrease and the costs of traditional fossil fuels increase.
Sustainability, as a topic, became so vivid and widespread that more and more US students pay a fee for sustainability each year for financing this kind of projects, often imposed on their iniative.
The Importance of Sustainable Campus
Universities and schools have a long tradition of innovative role in US. They have always been at the frontier of putting new behavior into practice. With the record high temperatures and other devastated and very visible consequences of climate change on our planet, academia today is one of main pillars in reducing Planet’s dependence on fossil fuels. The goal is to create a new generation of young leaders who will have a clear understanding and comprehensive knowledge about sustainability and clean energy resources of our planet. Educated about importance of clean energy sources students will tomorrow present the elite of our society and lead sustainability changes.
How Solar Applications fit into these programs and initiatives?