Green Fund welcomes eco-friendly proposals

Green Bus Top: Penn Eco-Rep Ellen Iwamoto displays a handful of wiggler worms and the compost they create. Bottom: The worms nestle into their bed of shredded paper and food waste at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

In a composting project at Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), some 3,000 red wiggler worms digest the staff’s kitchen waste. Across campus, plans are being developed to divert storm water from the School of Veterinary Medicine’s old Quad Courtyard into a collection tank for use in irrigating plant beds.

These are just two of the 18 proposals funded during 2009-10 through the Green Campus Partnership’s Green Fund, which encourages the development of innovative sustainability projects from the campus community aimed at improving Penn’s environmental performance and reducing greenhouse emissions.

Staff, faculty and students with new eco-friendly ideas have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, to submit their proposals for the 2010-11 year.

Each approved project is eligible for a one-time grant of up to $50,000, depending on its design, and must help Penn meet its Climate Action Plan goals.

At the APPC, Eco-Rep Ellen Iwamoto says she expects two to three gallons of worm compost to be harvested later this month.

“It will be used as fertilizer for office plants around the building, and the rest will be donated to the new garden at the Penn Women’s Center,” she says.

Next month, another collection pail will be added and more educational outreach to the staff is planned.

At Penn Vet, the storm water project team—made up of students, alumni, faculty and staff—plans to develop the project design this winter and install the harvesting system and landscaping in the spring.

“Determining the size of the storage capacity will be part of the design process and our intent is to use native, drought-resistant plantings,” says project leader Kimberly Kopple.

The Green Fund has financed a vegetable garden near Rodin College House and Green Acorn, a green certification process for local businesses. Other initiatives include energy-saving retrofitting of older campus buildings, as well as a variety of recycling, metering and energy sensor programs.

The grants are funded through Facilities and Real Estate Services and the Provost’s Office. Projects that generate financial savings are expected to repay the award, thus making future grants possible.

Green Fund hopefuls can view the application guidelines at www.upenn.edu/sustainability/greenfund.html.

 

Originally published on October 21, 2010