Going solar

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Going solar

Installers from Turnsol Energy of Watkinsville, Ga., install solar panels on the new home of the College of Environment and Design as part of renovations to the building.

Alumni returning to campus this fall may notice a little more “green” on North Campus. As part of the renovation of the former visual arts building on Jackson Street, workers installed rooftop solar panels to generate renewable energy. The Solar Demonstration Project will serve as a living laboratory for the building’s new inhabitant, the College of Environment and Design. Once fully implemented, the project will be accessible in person and online via a virtual “building dashboard” serving as a teaching and learning tool.

The panels are expected to provide nearly 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year—about enough energy to power 90 fluorescent T8 lights for 10 hours a day or 189 laptops for 8 hours a day for an entire year—and is anticipated to pay for itself over the next two decades through reduced electricity costs. The project was funded with a $5,000 grant received by the Go Green Alliance student organization as well as money from the Office of University Architects and the Office of Sustainability.

The UGA 2020 Strategic Plan calls for a reduction in energy consumption by 20 percent, the implementation of strategies to significantly reduce carbon emissions and the infusion of sustainability into formal and informal educational opportunities throughout the university. The UGA Finance and Administration Strategic Plan 2021 further calls for improving and maintaining facilities and infrastructure to provide excellence in instruction, research and service and enhancing UGA’s commitment to sustainability, operating as a good and responsible steward of natural resources.

Learn more about UGA and sustainability at http://www.sustainability.uga.edu.