CSULB sheds light on sustainability

The Physical Planning and Facilities Management department at Cal State Long Beach won a “Best Practice” award at the 2011 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference this week for a light design and retrofitting program that is estimated to save the campus $145,000 a year.

The program was singled out for its comprehensive approach to lighting efficiency that incorporated a variety of technologies and strategies, according to CSULB Energy and Sustainability Manager Paul Wingco.

“This is great,” Wingco said. “I think this is what was needed to bring the campus together toward sustainability. It also focuses on the importance of collaboration, not just within our campus, but collaboration with our community and the region.”

Wingco said the lighting and retrofit program utilized new LED and CFL lightbulb technologies along with fixture designs that optimally spread the light for maximum effect at a minimum cost. The program also installed occupancy sensors and digital control systems to better manage the lighting year round.

CSULB hosted this year’s conference from July 10-13. The four-day annual event, in its tenth year, is a congregation focused on finding ways to make university campuses more environmentally friendly. The conference drew around 1,000 attendees who represented campuses from all three tiers of the California higher education system, private universities and even from abroad.

“[Hosting the conference] was a joint idea between David Salazar and myself,” said Wingco. “It started from there and we talked to administration.”

He also cited support from Vice President of Administration and Finance Mary Stephens and President F. King Alexander.

“A lot of people got together. The Campus Host Committee [was] comprised of myself, David Salazar, Lori McCoy, Katy Maynard, and Alex Porter, our financial person in our department [who] helped tremendously,” Wingco said.

The keynote speaker this year was Manuel Pastor, a professor of ethnic studies from the University of Southern California. Pastor spoke humorously and insightfully about viewing sustainability as a social issue that should include efforts towards equity and social justice.

The theme of the conference was working with surrounding communities to find partnerships for sustainability efforts, according to the conference website. Workshops discussed new facility management codes, sustainable campus food chains, environmentally friendly residential life, ways to incorporate environmentalism into classroom curriculums and much more.

“[The conference] basically is really for our students and our faculty as a way to have a certain amount of environmental literacy that is learned across the board, so students go out into the world and understand the impacts that human development and settlement have on our resources,” said David Salazar, associate vice president of Physical Planning and Facilities Management.

The conference wrapped up on Wednesday with tours of the campus. Some visitors were taken around CSULB to show off new buildings such as the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the new science building. Others took a scenic stroll through the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, or visited the campus recycling center.

With another conference come and gone, organizers say they are already looking forward to next year’s conference at UC Davis in June 2012.

“One of the things I think is so amazing about this conference is that when I get to the end of it, instead of thinking about my next vacation, I’m thinking about what the conference is going to look like next year,” organizer Katy Maynard said.

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