Have you ever walked into a lecture hall
and wondered what kind of light bulbs are being used to illuminate
the auditorium? Or have you ever had to close a classroom door
behind you because it did not shut by itself? While students’
restless minds are usually consumed with the common concerns of
academia, perhaps we all should take a moment to reflect on
environmental issues that we often take for granted.

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the School of
Natural Resources and Environment, renovations have just been
completed to the Samuel T. Dana Building that are devoted to
cultivating environmental friendliness. The “greening”
of the building includes the use recycled polyester for office
furniture, recycled glass for bathroom tiling, and perhaps the most
resourceful of all, sunflower seed hulls to create non-wet
countertops — all of which helped produce a palimpsest from
old materials.

These eco-friendly renovations should set the precedent for
future projects. State Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), an SNRE alum,
told the Daily, “It is important to be able to see a
sustainable building and use it as an example for the government
and other education institutions.” This resourceful project
was the first of what will hopefully be many, to help improve the
University’s sustainability.

Support for the principle of sustainability should not be
limited to SNRE and its students. The University should work to
refurbish other buildings and offices as well. Though complete
renovations may be financially implausible, there are many
intermediary steps that the University can take to alleviate
environmental strains.

One such example would be to place more efficient lighting in
the classrooms, auditoriums, and even dormitories. The University
supplies all lighting in the dormitories. Should the University
modify the lighting to a low cost, environmentally sound bulb, this
could help reduce energy usage in university buildings.
Improvements to entryways could help limit the influx of cold air
and keep buildings more efficient during the winter months. All in
all, modest changes such as these in how the University operates
can really add up.

But it is also important that students take the initiative to
act looking closely at their personal habits, like turning off
lights when then are not being used and limiting unnecessary water
use. SNRE’s continual commitment to sustainability should
serve as an example to the University community as a whole, that
small steps are nonetheless significant in the move to more
efficient living.









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