University Sustainability Project Lands $50,000 Grant
recently established Sugar Bush Foundation has provided $50,000 to aid
in the implementation of a new initiative designed to reduce energy
costs and usage in residential properties serving Ohio University
students, according to a Jan. 8 press release.
The Green House
Project, developed and supported by the Ohio University Office of
Sustainability and the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development,
will provide for energy-efficiency audits of off-campus housing units
and the dissemination of information, recommendations and financial
support to students and landlords interested in making related
Community outreach and education are key goals of the project, but
economic and eco-friendly benefits are among anticipated outcomes,
according to Ohio University Sustainability Coordinator Sonia Marcus.
Work on the project is under way, and the first public information
sessions for students and landlords will take place in the spring
"We project that participating units will generate an annual savings of
up to $621 per house, the equivalent of approximately 6.9 tons of
greenhouse gas emissions avoided per house per year," Marcus said.
The Green House Project will serve a number of related goals, including
offsetting Ohio University's carbon footprint as mandated by the
Presidents Climate Commitment and reducing Athens' greenhouse gas
emissions as directed by the Cool Cities Initiative. It also seeks to
heighten awareness among Ohio University students and their landlords
of the relationship between energy use, utility costs and climate
Participating units will benefit from:
• Whole-house audits performed to evaluate energy leaks, the
efficiency of appliances and residents' patterns of energy usage.
• Peer-to-peer education on topics such as how to cut utility
bills, the connection between energy use and climate change, and what
to look for when choosing a rental in Athens.
• Distribution of compact fluorescent light bulbs and high-efficiency showerheads to students free of charge.
• Receipt of a report detailing the results of each audit, which
will be accompanied by a list of recommended actions (such as addition
or replacement of insulation, replacement of furnace, application of
weather stripping) to improve the overall efficiency of the rental and
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This marks the first grant awarded by the Sugar Bush Foundation, a
private family foundation whose mission is to "work with Ohio
University and our communities to improve the quality of life in
Appalachian Ohio by fostering sustainable development."