SEI developed the Green Demonstration Program to serve as a vehicle for providing innovative, cutting-edge approaches to greening college campuses, engaging students, and offering sustainable lifestyle best practices for the community. The Green Demonstration Program consists of two key program components: a Sustainable Showcase, and a Real-time Metering and Energy Savings Competition. These two constituents can be implemented concurrently, consecutively, or independently of one another.
I. The Sustainable Showcase
SEI works alongside of campus staff and students to ‘green’ a demonstration space on campus. The showcase spotlights efficient, sustainable products and services, demonstrating how students and staff can live/work more sustainably both on and off campus.
- SEI engages a multi-stakeholder campus team to plan for a high-visibility green demonstration space on campus.
- We work collaboratively to design a strategy for retrofitting the space to spotlight green products and services, to influence campus (student/staff) practices and seek to positively inform campus of sustainability programs and policies.
- Based on this plan, SEI supports the campus to seek out sponsorships and efficient, sustainable product and service donations (e.g. electronics, appliances lighting, carpeting, paints, water using devices, cleaning and personal care products, etc.).
- Once the space is outfitted, we hold a Grand Opening and provide for ongoing physical and virtual tours of the showcase, in addition to promoting the effort using campus and community press/public relations.
- Pending campus approval, SEI also looks to work with area businesses and service providers to hold a Green Living Forum on campus, in addition to establishing a Community Green Retailer coupon Redemption Program.
Program Outcomes and Impacts
- Inform students, staff, and community members on the latest green, energy and water conservation practices and related products and services.
- Connect students and staff with local green product and service providers.
- Motivate students to break out of the ‘hotel mentality,’ to use resources more wisely and have them seek out green products and services over the standard offering.
- Provide students with the resources and pathways to contribute to their campus/community sustainability goals.
- Provide the college/university with a highly visible green demonstration space that spotlights the breadth of campus sustainability initiatives in play and that can be leveraged for ongoing student/staff sustainability programming.
Program Expansion and Sustainability
The Sustainable Showcase concept can be applied to a variety of campus spaces: residential, dining, academic and administrative. In addition, the showcase itself can be scaled in line with campus interests and available resources (from a single room to an entire building) SEI’s showcase planning and implementation process has been proven effective on multiple campus efforts, and where we were both direct implementers and remote campus consultants. Once installed, the showcase has longevity well beyond the initial grand opening. Oftentimes, our campus teams go on to green new (and more ambitious) spaces on campus.
II. Real-time Metering and Energy Savings Competition
For this particular program component, we seek to merge technology with resident/occupant behavior change through real-time energy monitoring and building-level resident/occupant energy savings competitions.
- SEI works across campus Housing, Residence Life and Facilities to engage and plan for an energy and water savings competition within a residential area of campus. The competition period is usually one-month to a full quarter in duration. During this period, SEI staff work to expose the campus community to tested techniques that reduce energy and water consumption.
- We work to acquire and install a real-time energy monitoring application coupled with one or more visual output displays to inform competition participants of their energy/water usage and their relative progress towards saving resources. (See the photo below of an example of the real-time monitor and visual output display in action!)
- During the competition period, we continue to engage residents through multiple channels such as: a competition kickoff event, food parties, creative competition updates and associated events.
- Once the competition period is completed, we hold an Awards Ceremony to promote the results of the competition and to provide recognition and sustainable prizes to the winning residents/hall.
Program Outcomes and Impacts
- Motivate students to break out of the ‘hotel mentality’ in order to use resources more wisely and to take this culture of resource efficiency with them once they move off-campus.
- Provide students with the means and pathways to contribute to their campus/community sustainability goals.
- Provide the school with the technology infrastructure to support follow-on building resident/occupant programming and creative intervention.
- Achieve demonstrable energy savings along with greenhouse gas emissions reductions for campus.
Program Expansion and Sustainability
SEI staff has successfully worked with campuses - those nearby and remote - to plan and implement this type of energy technology and behavioral pilot. As with the Sustainable Showcase model, we have identified much pent-up demand from campuses for support to get this type of effort going. As mentioned above, once buildings are outfitted with the real-time meters, monitoring equipment and displays, this campus staff can leverage this infrastructure in a multitude of different ways to engage students and staff in campus greening and resource efficiency initiatives, thus moving the campus closer to a shared culture of sustainability.
Since 2004, SEI has successfully managed demonstrations in select University of California, California State University, and University of Hawaii campuses.
San Francisco State University
At San Francisco State University, SEI used a grant from the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund to design, install, and publicize energy efficiency/green residence hall demonstrations. The SF State Green Apartment, which opened officially in March 2007, is a one-bedroom apartment with a variety of Energy Star and other efficient features including appliances and electronics, lighting, carpet tiles, water conserving technologies, sustainable furniture and eco-friendly apparel, cleaning, and personal care products. The team also incorporated practices to educate and highlight behaviors that increase sustainability including recycling, power strips, green power purchasing, and carbon offsetting.
University of California, Berkeley
On the University of California, Berkeley, campus in 2006, SEI helped students and staff develop the Green Room in one of the first-year residence halls, showcasing how Cal students can reduce their impact on the environment. The Green Room targets campus residents and demonstrates how a typical student can live more sustainably in the residence halls without drastic changes in lifestyle or income. The space teaches visitors about “conscious consumerism” and changes in behavior that lessen impact on the environment. The room also showcases sustainable personal care products and Energy Star appliances.
California State University, Chico
Also in 2006, at the California State University campus in Chico, The Chico Sustainability House opened, featuring Energy Star products that reduce energy consumption. This house will be an ongoing educational tool about the importance of energy conservation. The demonstration house features energy-efficient products and best practices in all areas of this eight-bedroom structure, including the commonly shared kitchen, living room, dining room and bathrooms, in addition to student bedrooms. The Sustainability House continues to serve as a living-learning laboratory for student class-based research projects focusing on sustainability and green living. The Chico Green Campus intern team partnered with SEI staff and university officials to make Sustainability House a reality.
University of Hawaii, Manoa
At the University of Hawaii, utility costs have been a significant percentage of the operating budget on all campuses, prompting the administration to turn to SEI to help them secure funding and support from the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) and US Department of Energy for an Energy Star residence hall demonstration showcase. In 2005, SEI led the project team to create the two-bedroom student apartment showcase, which models the ideal energy-efficient setting and demonstrates how an energy-sustainable dorm looks like any regular student living area, easily replicable by other students. In direct response to this project, University of Hawaii officials installed Energy Star-rated compact refrigerators in all of their residence halls, in addition to mandating energy-efficiency standards for all new campus residential construction projects.