Conservation Council Minutes

Conservation Council Meeting Notes Monday 11/16/09

Meeting Attendees: Brad Baldwin, Catherine Boulatoff, Wes Norton, Alle Wingerter, Chloe Whalen, Amanda Lavigne

The meeting began with a brief Member's Time discussion surrounding how to better communicate environmentally oriented activities, etc. on campus.

Suggestions by the group:

1.      Using the White Board in the Student Center

2.      Passing on word to profs who teach Intro classes

3.      Using a more focused email chain and asking participants to pass it on to toher groups they are associated with

Next, attention turned to a discussion relating the draft policies we have on the table (anti-idling and grounds) to a request made by the Recession Task Force (RTF) for information from the Climate Neutrality Working Group (CNWG).

During the CNWG meeting, the rep from the RTF expressed that the submission of a "brief", outlining some suggestions to reduce the working budget for the University that were also in line with carbon reduction, would be a good way to keep climate planning "on the radar" during budget adjustments over the short term. 

The CNWG suggested that the existing draft of the short-term Work Plan associated with the CAP could be used as a basis for this "brief".  Louise, Amanda, Brad, and Rick volunteered as members of the CNWG to tighten up the Work Plan, and in doing so create the "brief" to be submitted to the RTF.  As all 4 volunteers are members of CC, and because CC is currently working on the language for policy proposals that would be very relevant to both documents, it was decided that this issue would be brought to the CC meeting for discussion.

The "brief" represents the closest deadline for submission, and so became the focus of discussion.

Amanda outlined some different possibilities for document organization to make the types of suggestions/recommendations, etc. that should be included in this submission more clear:

1.      The Work Plan is broken down by "strategy", and these could be used to organize our suggestions:

a.       Conservation

b.      Efficiency

c.       Re-Sourcing

d.      Off-setting

2.      Another way to ensure that we will get a broad spectrum of ideas on the table is to break them down by economic category, which might be more appropriate for this document:

a.       Upfront capital cost with an estimated payback period

                                                  i.      Energy use monitoring system (Existing report, Thelmo resolution, and data available - Louise)

                                                ii.      Biomass boiler (Work Plan, report, $ - Louise)

b.      No upfront cost

                                                  i.      Policy change w/ estimated savings ($ and carbon)

1.      Upfront cost w/payback period

a.       Vehicle purchasing: alternative "fuel" (Jordan G. SYE research project - data available - Amanda)

2.      No upfront cost

a.       Vehicle purchasing: more efficient fossil fuel (Jordan G. SYE research project - data available - Amanda)

                                                ii.      Policy creation with estimated savings

1.      Upfront cost w/payback period

a.       Grounds: perennials vs annuals (policy language CC)

2.      No upfront cost

a.       Anti-idling (policy language CC)

c.       Following through on existing investments:

                                                  i.      Continuing the conversation about the biomass boiler (and geothermal systems?) b/c we already spent $ on the assessment, if we don't it will be $ "lost" (Work Plan draft, report, data, $ - Louise, Ben D.)

                                                ii.      Actually budgeting for the renovations suggested by the ESCO energy audit - otherwise the $ spent on the audit will be $ "lost" (Work Plan draft, report, data, $ - Louise, Ben D.)

**These types of ideas will already be mentioned by AdminOps, but perhaps we want to reinforce their importance from a climate neutrality perspective, too?

d.      Revenue generating

                                                  i.      Creating a directed giving initiative for "sustainability" projects - if we can find some data to show that this will actually draw ADDITIONAL givers/investor into the mix, while still keeping things very flexible (because sustainability is a very vague word and can really be applied to almost any project) (No current info)

                                                ii.      Finding some data to show that carbon planning will draw tuition-paying students to the university if we actually DO what we say (i.e. honor our commitments) and not Greenwash (No current info)

                                              iii.      "Polluter" Pays

1.      Pay for laundry

2.      Pay for parking

                                              iv.      Directed student tuition hike w/ caveats relating the expenditure on sustainability to include economic benefits as well (Paul Smith's model?) i.e. students buy 3 electric "gators" and a charging station that can be operated using "human power" and these vehicles get charged by exercise machines at the gym, displacing x gallons of fuel per year, x $ paid out, and x tons of carbon released

**This is not a good example - other suggestions?

e.       BIG picture - reduce energy use, reduce carbon, reduce $ spent

                                                  i.      4 day work week (Louise baseline data? - Amanda quick calculations)

                                                ii.      Longer winter break (Louise baseline data? - Amanda quick calculations)

Audience: Recession Task Force - they will review and incorporate into their report to the Pres.


1.      We need input and comments from everyone on this framework for the "brief" - have we captured everything in a clear, logical way?  Are we leaving things out that should be in there?


2.      We need other suggestions on specific examples for some of these categories of suggestions


3.      We need to gather all of the information that we already have and do the best we can with it - time is very short

a.       Reports (biomass boiler, geothermal, ESCO prelim estimates, CAP Work Plan draft/summary from ‘08/'09, Jordan G. SYE, energy monitoring system Thelmo res + report + online reports w/data, ...???)

b.      Policy drafts:

                                                              i.      Anti-idling

                                                            ii.      Grounds

                                                          iii.      Others???

c.       Environmental Action Plan (Green Pages)

d.      Idea Connect info for justification

e.       Statement of Principles (CAP?)

f.       Research on directed giving for sustainability initiatives

g.      Research on attracting tuition-paying students with a comprehensive sustainability/climate action plan in place


4.      We need to volunteer to take the lead on individual "sections" of the brief as outlined above - we will all be sharing info, but someone needs to pull each section together so we have a draft that the entire group can review

Amanda will write up notes, try to collect info in a common spot for all to access, will coordinate work on different sections by volunteers, and will assign sections if no one volunteers. 

By next meeting 11/30 - the day we get back from break - we should have a solid framework, all of the info, and a sense of who will tackle what.  This leaves us approximately one week to write (approx .5 pages each) and 1 week to condense, edit, and vet to the CNWG before submission.

Our time line is very short (Dec 10? - Amanda is confirming due date with the RTF), so we get what we get, but with a little bit of work we should be able to pull something together.