May 2016 eNewsletter

From the desk of OES:

OES Interns at their final presentations event on May 6th
While the summer doesn’t technically start until June 20, for those of us close to higher education, summer has begun! Commencement 2016 was held on Monday, May 23. Congratulations to all graduates — and to everyone for finishing this school year strong.

If you were in Oberlin for Commencement/Reunion Weekend 2016, you enjoyed a host of activities spanning the Oberlin scene – from dances to open houses; eating local food to hearing from graduates, alumni, and special guests. Commencement/Reunion weekend is an exciting time. I enjoyed giving a tour of our large solar array on Saturday morning. I was so impressed with the level of interest and terrific questions from participants. We had an awesome time!

Speaking of green activities in Oberlin and renewable energy, this upcoming Saturday, June 4 Oberlin is a hosting a guided tour highlighting various places in town as part of the Green Energy Ohio tour. The tour will start at the College’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) and move to visit a nice selection of local residences and commercial buildings to learn more renewable energy and highlight sustainability practices. The tour is free and open to all visitors. Check out the website to learn more.

The last stop on the tour is the newly opened, Hotel at Oberlin. The Hotel at Oberlin (formerly the Oberlin Inn) was built in accordance to LEED Platinum standards and features a variety of green innovations. Even if you aren’t in need of lodging, the newly opened hotel restaurant 1833 aims to please. More information about the hotel can be found on their website here (or facebook page here).

Another exciting advancement occurred in the month of May. Remember the request for proposals (RFP) issued this spring for the College to select a partner to assist us in achieving our carbon neutrality goals? I am pleased to announce that EverGreen Energy has been selected as our partner in this effort.

The first step of this effort is a study that will assess the campus and nearby energy assets, current and future energy demand, potential for renewable and efficient technology integration, smart grid opportunities, and the financial profiles for high potential solutions. Once the study is complete, recommendations will be made for the optimal energy solutions that will achieve carbon neutrality. Recommendations will also include an assessment of campus energy resilience and a proposed operations structure to optimize the investments, phasing, and utilization of any new systems. Ever‐Green is one of the country’s premier energy experts, with decades of experience in developing, operating, and managing sustainable community energy systems. Learn more at www.ever‐

We will report on progress updates in our eNewsletter each month.

Enjoy the start of your summer! In the meantime, I am off to Norway…!

– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

Photo of Nærøyfjord by Katrin Moe. This is about where I should be by the time you are reading this. Technology is neat, huh?

News & Announcements:

  • Oberlin College Carbon Neutrality: EverGreen Energy has been selected as Oberlin College’s partner firm to chart a path to carbon neutrality by 2025. This will include technical considerations as well as an economic approach. The mission of this project is “Oberlin College will achieve carbon neutrality for the energy profile of its campus by 2025 in a meaningful manner, while providing equitable solutions and supporting a culture of learning and engagement for the campus and community.”
  • Commencement/Reunion Weekend: May 20-23 marked Oberlin College’s 2016 Commencement/Reunion Weekend. This weekend is pack full of activities to celebrate the achievements and stellar learning of our graduating class, reunite with old classmates, and enjoy the connections to people and place found in Oberlin. This glorious weekend features many sustainability initiatives and opportunities to engage with the diversity of activities Oberlin College has to offer. A recap of the weekend’s festivities can be found here.
Upcoming Events:
For a full view of events visit the Environmental Events calendar:

June 4Green Energy Ohio – Oberlin Guided Tour @ 9AM-3:30PM in various locations across town – Starting at the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) this tour will cross town to visit college, city, and private residences exhibiting sustainability features. You can register on Eventbrite here, and learn more about each site on the Green Energy Ohio event page.

See more events or add yours to the Environmental Events Calendar here:

Rendering of the Hotel at Oberlin

Many people travel during the summer months. Here’s the numbers related to travel and carbon offsets:

If you traveled for the Commencement/Reunion Weekend, or have upcoming vacation plans, did you know you can offset your travel? Carbon offsets take many different forms, but ultimately aim to counteract emissions by investing in carbon reducing projects in the equivalent amount, like renewable energy installations. Some airlines and conferences give you the option to offset at the time of registration/booking. If yours doesn’t, you visit a website such as Native Energy to purchase offsets. For example: from CLE to Oslo, Norway generates about  0.92 metric tons (MT) of CO2e. Depending on the project, offsetting this amount can cost as little as $8, as much $35, and many people argue the cost of carbon should be substantially higher (ask OES Intern, Gabe Jacobson about this!). The average cost of carbon on offsetting sites hovers around $14/ton. If you are interested in offsetting your travel you can visit Carbon FootprintNative Energy, or TerraPass. You can even offset your footprint for an entire year – or longer or shorter.

Did you know?

The new Hotel at Oberlin aims to be LEED Platinum. Their restaurant, 1833, features local food. The interior of the building also sourced some materials locally. Over the past few months of construction, the team worked to eliminate waste where possible; this included selling interior items and furnishings, reusing some mechanical and kitchen equipment on campus, and donating items to local non-profits. As far as the bones of the old structure, the construction team is aiming to divert 95% from the landfill.

Green Tips
  • Abundance: It’s time to get out your walking shoes to head to your local Farmer’s Market. Farmer’s markets support local farmers and merchants which bolsters the local economy and reduces transportation of your goods, all in a fun environment.
  • Shoo Skeeters: While commercial and heavy-duty mosquito repellents can deter the pests, they can also wreck havoc on other insects. Try garlic barrier to ward off the blood-suckers. Altogether safe and low-tech alternative is planting rosemary. Not only does it smell (and taste) delightful, but it also serves to deter mosquitoes.
  • Drink > Water: Instead of giving your grass generous amounts of water, try drinking water yourself. Staying hydrated is crucial in the summer when the weather is toasty. Alcohol and caffeine can promote dehydration, so avoid those if you’re going to be outside for quite awhile

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