Dr. William Emanuel, a fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Crops, has spent the past 10 weeks at Claflin University analyzing data to cut electricity usage while educating the campus community on how to do it.
“We have identified tangible ways to reduce Claflin’s carbon footprint,” said Emanuel. “My hope is Claflin University will be the centerpiece for community development and education in environmental sustainability.”
Emanuel came to the University from a summer fellowship with the Climate Corps program, which recruits top graduate students to work with organizations in the area of energy efficiency. “We examined energy usage in different buildings on campus and developed avenues to reduce energy output in each of them,” he said.
He was also focused on improve health across the campus, primarily centered on curbing obesity. Emanuel hopes his research will enhance what he calls the three pillars of sustainability: meeting human needs, optimization and minimizing environmental impact.
Emanuel advocates a continuation of the organic gardening program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and establishing a color coded system to readily identify the healthiness of different foods and drinks served on campus.
“Education is a key component with heightening awareness for incorporating better diet and fitness in everyday lives,” he said.
His recommendations for lessening the institution’s environment impact are in line with Claflin’s recent Environmental Sustainability Initiative, a University-wide program designed to reduce energy cost and carbon footprint. Emanuel highlighted a need for recycling and composting which will reduce waste output and save money.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said the presence and insight of Emanuel this summer was complementary to Claflin’s sustainability efforts.
“Environmental sustainability and improving health are top priorities at Claflin University,” said Tisdale. “We applaud the outstanding work of Dr. Emanuel over the past few months. He has provided an extraordinarily detailed roadmap for sustainability on this campus. His work will enhance the effectiveness of our Environmental Sustainability Initiative.”
The Initiative began last year as a multi-pronged approach that includes campus-wide recycling, faculty and student education and green construction for new buildings. That includes the recent installation of solar panels around Kleist Hall, Corson Hall and the 1869 Dining Hall, which will heat the buildings’ water.