UAB is involved in several areas of research directly related to sustainability
The UAB Leadership Foundations is a four phase program that provides guidance and professional information for students who want to develop and hone their leadership skills. Each phase builds upon the previous phase, helping the student to discover themselves in the company of their peers who are also growing through the program. During the final phase the program requires that the students do a service project either on campus or within the community that will benefit the respective area.
This year, the Leadership Foundation has been awarded funds to establish and grow a herb garden on the roof of the second floor of the HUC. The goal is to finish this garden by the end of the spring term, 2012. The garden will provide fresh herbs that will be used in food preparation by the UAB campus restaurants, managed by Sodexo (Brent Bolton, General Manager). Additionally, the garden is being designed so as to be a pleasing view to passersby.
The students involved in this project are Chelsea McCoy, Melanie Walcott, Josh McQuitty, Josh Pawlik, Julius Robinson, Jasmine Rhodes, and Satyam Patel under the guidance of organization advisor Nicole Beachum. This project is being completed as part of a campus greening effort administered by the UAB Sustainability Committee, Facilities, the Department of Biology (College of Arts and Sciences), and the School of Engineering.
UAB's College of Arts and Sciences announced the first Interdisciplinary Innovation Forum, which was held on January 24, 2012 at the UAB Alumni House. The goal of the forum was to focus on the world's biggest problems where interdisciplinary innovations will have a big impact. The first theme is "New Energy Sources and Global Demand" and future forums will address issues such as "Innovations in Drug Delivery/Discovery", "Environmental Change/Sustainability", "Cultural and Intellectual Context and Perspectives, "Biomedical Ethics", Computer Simulations/Human Health and other topics suggested by faculty.
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Collaborations in Egypt
UAB and Misr University for Science and Technology in Cairo, Egypt are collaborating to offer an international graduate program that culminates in a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) degree.
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UAB’s four campus buildings featuring green vegetative roofs have performed well through the years, but are largely out of view of the public.
The latest vegetative roof can be viewed up close and personal.
Eight university departments and student organizations recently built and planted the first easily visible vegetative roof on the second floor of the Hill University Center. The roof is the first pilot-scale green roof at UAB to include an irrigation system, supporting mostly native plants and fresh herbs that Sodexo chefs will use to prepare meals in the Blazer Café Food Court.
On top of the Chemistry Building, Facilities has installed 15 miniature test roofs with different types of “green” or sustainable roof systems. Each of these test roofs are basically 4 x 8 feet boxes constructed of plywood and insulated similar to most UAB buildings. Inside each plywood box is a wireless temperature sensor that is continuously being recorded and trended by a remote computer. This data is being collected by both Facilities and the senior design students in the UAB School of Civil Engineering. Many different types of green roof systems such as reflective roofs are being evaluated in comparison to traditional roofs for their effectiveness in conserving energy and sustainability. The results will be used to determine the type of roofs to be used on future UAB buildings and replacing existing UAB roofs. Due to the increasing cost of energy, this research is very important in UAB’s efforts to reduce energy consumption.
Engineering senior project gets boost from Alabama Power
Alan Shih, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering, has spent most of his career working on simulations. His research interests range from computational geometry to virtual reality, among others.
But Shih has wanted to research wind turbines since he arrived at UAB in 2002 - years before the current alternative energy boom. His problem was a lack of time and of help.
Then Shih met student Kevin Nord three years ago, and the possibilities of beginning his wind-turbine research began to take shape.
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UAB has recently established a "Green Team" to promote sustainability within the UAB Health System. One of the main purposes of the Green Team is to raise awareness about the health care industry's relationship with the environment and to develop strategies to minimize the negative environmental impacts of our hospitals. The current focus of the Green Team is to identify materials in our hospitals that are suitable for reuse and recycling and to develop plans and procedures for the safe and environmentally responsible collection and transport of these materials to the UAB Recycling Center.
In the future, we would like to expand our recycling program to include a wider variety of waste streams and materials. We are working closely with the materials manager to start an environmentally preferable purchasing team. By asking vendors about reducing packaging, Green Team members can help develop awareness with medical supply companies to eliminate unnecessary packaging and thereby minimize the production of solid wastes that require disposal in landfills. This will save UAB money and Alabama limited landfill space. Also, the materials management department and the Green Team plan to evaluate corn and sugar-based biodegradable plates, cups, and eating utensils for the hospital's cafeteria. These are just a few of the health care related sustainability projects that are being considered by the UAB HealthSystem Green Team. Check back on this page frequently to see what we are up to.
For more information, read "Starting a Health Care System Green Team," written by Elisa Mejia and Barbara Sattler.
Women & Infants Center Receives EPA Energy Star Certification
Congratulations to UAB’s Women & Infants Center (WIC)/Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center for earning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star certification for 2011! Compared with typical buildings, those awarded this certification use an average of 35% less energy and release 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Currently 23 hospitals in the United States have Energy Star recognition, making the WIC one of the most energy-efficient hospitals in the U.S. and the only hospital in Alabama to earn the award in 2011.
UAB staff submitted the building’s energy-use data for its first year in operation to the EPA. The center scored 79 out of 100 points, exceeding the 75-point rating required for certification.
“This facility is a good example of where a practical approach to green building has paid off,” said Robert Sharpe, director of hospital construction. “Efforts like these provide operational and financial benefits while reducing the negative impact on our resources.”
UAB placed an emphasis on energy conservation and management throughout the facility’s design, commissioning, and operation. Some techniques include daylight harvesting, occupancy sensor-controlled heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, and optimized building automation system programming.
The Energy Star certification was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. UAB continues to design new energy-efficient facilities and initiatives to create a more sustainable campus environment.