TTU Sustainable Campus Fee Committee approves dozen projects for 2008-2009 academic year

Tennessee Tech University’s sustainable campus fee committee recently approved a dozen projects totaling $230,000 to help make the campus more environmentally friendly in the 2008-09 academic year.

This is the university’s second year of funding such projects, paid for by the sustainable campus fee of $8 per undergraduate student per semester that was popularly approved by a student vote in fall 2005.

This year’s projects include:

• Purchasing two electric vehicles — one each for the campus Postal Service and Telecommunications — at a total cost of $40,000. The purchase will bring the university’s number of electric vehicles to six. (Four were purchased with a portion of last year’s sustainable campus fee allocation.)

“The electric cars have zero emissions and get an equivalent 180 MPG,” said Larry Wheaton, TTU’s facilities engineer and chairman of the sustainable campus fee committee.

• Installing solar panels at a cost of $10,000.

“The project is activated through TTU’s Office of Research, via an agreement between the TTU Center for Energy Systems Research and the Tennessee Valley Authority,” Wheaton said.

The agreement allows TTU to use the solar panels for various purposes, including offsetting the electricity needed to charge the electric vehicles, and TVA to receive “green credits” and research data for planning their own future sustainability efforts and green programs.

• Replacing incandescent light fixtures with more efficient metal halide fixtures on the southwest intramural field, at a cost of $48,000.

“This project is similar to [an incandescent light fixture replacement] that was done on the southeast field in our first-year projects,” he said. “Energy savings of 72 percent can be anticipated, with lamp life increased threefold.”

• Monitoring steam lines to detect trap failures, at a cost of $12,000.

“We’ll be using the campus Building Automation System for monitoring 10 strategic points on the campus steam distribution system for steam trap failure,” Wheaton said. “The BAS will provide an alarm to alert technicians to repair or replace faulty traps and save lost energy.”

• Implementing a “green” light switch cover and sticker program, at a cost of $4,000. Recycled plastic light cover switches with a “TTU Purple Pride Going Green” logo will be installed in a portion of all campus buildings to encourage turning off lights when not in use.

• Expanding the campus recycling program by purchasing additional containers for recyclables for the TTU custodial department, for a cost of $8,000.

• Purchasing an 11-foot cut bio-diesel lawn mower, at a cost of $55,000, which will replace three of TTU’s current sized mowers.

“It will mow 8.5 acres per hour and will save manpower in addition to being less polluting than three separate units,” Wheaton said.

• Purchasing environmentally friendly “green” cleaning supplies for TTU’s custodial department to use in selected buildings, at a cost of $10,000, and evaluating their effectiveness in consideration of making a complete change to campus-wide “green cleaning” in the future.

• Implementing a bicycle share program in cooperation with Honors Program students, at a cost of $500. Similar to programs on other local campuses, discarded bikes will be repaired and located in various areas around campus to facilitate campus transportation and offset the use of motorized vehicles.

• Purchasing posters, decals and other items, at a total cost of $500, for a campus “going green” promotion.

• Partnering with the TTU Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources to study, model and develop a campus storm water protection plan for compliance with requirements from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. A total of $15,000 has been allocated for the project.

• Funding an auxiliary central chiller plant cooling replacement unit for the Information Technology Services Department to offset two of its current cooling systems.

“This project will save electricity and reduce equipment maintenance because the central chiller plant system produces cooling year-round more economically than the existing units,” Wheaton said.

All projects are in compliance with Tennessee Board of Regents guidelines, established in June 2007 to allow campuses flexibility in regard to sustainability issues. The guidelines also allow the continuation in future semesters of the self-imposed tuition increase at TTU and other institutions that have enacted such a measure.

TBR sustainable campus fee guidelines, current project status and more information about TTU’s sustainable campus fee can be found at

Sustainable campus fee initiatives, proposals for funding and questions can be e-mailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .