Episode 14: Solar carport and Energy Transition at Michigan State University

Wolfgang Bauer (left); Gary Farha (right);   Solar Carport Installation  at MSU (bottom)

Wolfgang Bauer (left); Gary Farha (right);
Solar Carport Installation at MSU (bottom)

Guests:
Wolfgang Bauer
University Distinguished Professor and Associate Vice President for Administrative Services
Michigan State University

Gary Farha
Founder, President and CEO
CustomerFirst Renewables

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

The focus of this episode is a large, on-site solar carport installation that recently came online on MSU’s campus. At the time it came online, this was the largest carport solar installation in the United States.  As background, Wolfgang shares the rich history of the MSU energy system dating back to the 19th century. We discuss the role of MSU’s Energy Transition Plan as a catalyst for this project. This plan lays out aggressive goals for the use of renewable energy and the reduction of GHG emissions.  We talk through the decision-making process that led up to this project and end by discussing possible next steps in MSU’s energy transition.

Resources:

Episode 13: The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action

The panel at CHESC 2018 (  Left to right)  Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

The panel at CHESC 2018 (Left to right) Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

Guests:
Eric Eberhardt
Director of Energy Services
Energy & Facilities Management Services
University of California, Office of the President
Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Director, Sustainability, University Operations
Director, Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
Fletcher Alexander
Sustainability Programs Manager, Institute for Sustainable Development
California State University, Chico
Tyler Durchslag-Richardson
Senior Analyst, Facilities Services and Integrated Planning
California Institute of Technology
Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

This episode was recorded live on July 10th at the 2018 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) which took place on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dave Karlsgodt moderated the session: “The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action.” Panelists from a cross-section of California institutions answered questions about their climate action efforts.  You’ll hear both success stories from these leading institutions, but also some honest discussion on where they have more work to do. Topics include the nature of their climate action strategies, making the business case for sustainable practices, the dual role of higher ed. to lead and to educate, carbon neutrality, 100% renewable energy and more.  Audience members bring up some challenging questions including how to consider equity, social justice, and the stratification of resources to address these challenges.  The discussion includes a combination of inspiring success stories and honest self-reflection from sustainability professionals working in the trenches.

Resources:

Episode 11: Putting a Price on Carbon - Nathan Graf, Swarthmore College

Nathan Graf  Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Nathan Graf
Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Guest: Nathan Graf
Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

Production Assistance:
Andrea Gartner

What will it take to bring the impacts of carbon emissions to the forefront of conversation? New awareness programs, or perhaps moral pressure? One current proposal sure to grab attention is carbon pricing. This economic concept charges individuals and businesses a fixed rate per ton of CO2 they release into the atmosphere. Assigning monetary values to goods is an integral part of our economy, with colleges and universities being no exception.

In this episode, Swarthmore College alumni and Climate Action Fellow Nathan Graf discusses Swarthmore’s carbon charge program. The inspiration for this endeavor and its practical implementation on campus are efficiently described in an easy-to-understand manner. The effect of this program has led to a greater awareness upon Swarthmore’s campus and offers a sense of encouragement and curiosity for other higher education institutions who may want to implement a similar program. Nathan describes ways other colleges can go about carbon pricing on their own campuses. Such programs can yield numerous benefits including a sustainable reputation, increased funding, and student involvement and education.

Resources:

  • Swarthmore's Carbon Charge Program:
    https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/swarthmore-carbon-charge-program

  • For questions email sustainability@swarthmore.edu