The Green Seed Fund – a grant fund for campus environmental research projects – is accepting proposals through Dec. 11 for the next round of grants.
The Green Seed Fund aims to promote and fund research projects that advance sustainable research while contributing to the university’s sustainability goals. The fund was launched in 2013, and in its inaugural year 15 proposals totaling nearly $1 million were submitted. From that pool, proposals were selected and awarded nearly $279,000 in funding.
A similar amount of funding is available for 2014-2015 projects.
The initial projects and their current status:
Crew with grounds utility vehicle.
Grounds utility vehicle carbon footprint comparison
The team purchased a biodiesel-fueled John Deere Gator and an electric vehicle for the comparison. The decibel level of the Gator is high enough that University of Washington Environmental Health & Safety recommends wearing ear protection. Conversely, the electric vehicle runs so quietly that at least one grounds crew staffer has concerns about driving it. The team conducts monthly surveys of the UW Botanical Gardens staff using the vehicles. Other findings around biodiesel and the noise generated, using it during colder weather and other effects on the team’s work are being evaluated.
Engaging Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences labs to establish a model for sustainability
The team has conducted interviews with each of 20 labs, analyzed purchasing records and conducted a lab trash sort.Currently the team is working with the Department of Ecology on chemical and equipment inventories, and monitoring energy and water usage in labs.Pilot tests are coming, focusing on 10 green strategies.
Building user audit: capturing behavior energy and culture
The team completed the first draft of building user audit procedure guidelines, submitted it to key stakeholders in the UW Capital Projects Office and Facilities Services and received valuable feedback. Using the edited procedure, the first round of building audits was conducted in Gould, Savery and Paccar halls. Monitoring equipment was also installed in classrooms, computer labs and offices. An online survey was created to gauge participants’ world views on energy use, conservation, behaviors that impact energy use, the UW Climate Action Plan and demographics. It was sent out to building users 18 years and older, and 149 anonymous users completed the survey. The project has suffered a slight setback due to delays in monitoring equipment being set up.
Indoor environment quality assessment
The team has ordered and mounted an extensive range of environment monitoring equipment on movable poles. These poles were set up at gathering stations in various locations around the HUB to record temperature, radiation and air movement. Stations were also set up to record the movement of automated, temperature-control windows. The same measurements were taken outside the HUB as well. The data from the indoor and outdoor conditions are currently being compared and analyzed, and the automated building system is being tested against green standards.
Measured benefits: monitoring the impacts of the UW Green Wall and water harvesting system
The team is deep into its research and monitoring of flora, temperature, fauna and water of the Green Wall on the side of Gould Hall. To conduct the monitoring, the team created a research protocol, purchased equipment and hired a team to conduct the monitoring. Unfortunately, the installed equipment was stolen by crows several times and had to be replaced. Due to construction happening near Gould Hall and the harsh winter conditions in early 2014, the project is delayed. However, the team is optimistic the project will be complete in spring 2015.