The Notre Dame Energy Center addresses the challenge of developing abundant, inexpensive energy sources that, when in use, do not harm the environment. Over 40 Notre Dame faculty and many undergraduates and graduate students participate in its state-of-the-art research and education programs in energy efficiency; safe nuclear waste storage; clean coal utilization; CO2 separation, storage, sequestration and use; solar and other renewable energy; and the social, political, and ethical aspects of energy policy and use.
In 2007 alone, more than $6.7 million was awarded by external sponsors for energy-related projects.
The Energy Center Student Advisory Board was formed in January 2007 to provide advice and guidance to the Energy Center director and to help develop new programs and initiatives in support of the Energy Center mission.
Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability was established on January 1, 2008, and its first director, James Mazurek, was appointed in May. The office will build institutional learning capacities to support continuous improvement in building design and operations, landscaping, procurement, energy and water conservation, waste disposal and recycling, and service provision. It is also charged with educating the campus community through informal learning opportunities, presentations, conferences, competitions, and an updated website.
Its immediate goals include:
- Establishing a baseline for all energy use at Notre Dame, including heating, cooling, electricity, transportation, and purchased goods
- Developing metrics that will be used to track progress from 2008 forward
- Setting specific goals for improving sustainability in various aspects of the campus, including heating, cooling, electricity, transportation, and purchased goods.
The Energy and Environmental Issues Committee
University Leadership reconstituted the Energy and Environmental Issues (E&EI) Committee in December 2006 to broaden energy and environmental awareness, to report on Notre Dame “green” initiatives, and to advise University leadership on eco-friendly opportunities. The work of the committee, which comprises faculty, staff, and students, has resulted in a campus-wide awareness campaign, the annual Green Summit and Energy Week, and the completion of new initiatives to minimize energy use.
The Green Loan Fund
The University has generously created a $2 million Green Loan Fund to provide capital for environmental improvements in both campus buildings and operations, illustrating a long-term commitment to sustainability efforts. The Class of 2008 has generously given its senior class gift to the fund.
An initiative of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, the Center for Building Communities seeks communities where we can work with local people—first to identify specific problems in specific places, then to discuss and design solutions that will be healthier (in every sense of the word), more beautiful, more efficient, and more affordable than before.
Emerging Green Builders, a student initiative within the School of Architecture, has started the blog, GreenArkiesND. It’s the school’s go-to online resource for interesting links, articles, and resources on green architecture.
GreeND seeks to (1) promote interdisciplinary learning about the energy and environmental challenges facing humanity today, (2) effect sustainable changes in the policies and lifestyles that determine energy usage, and (3) develop leaders capable to engage the complexities of these challenges both at Notre Dame and in the world. It is the umbrella organization that connects organizations including the Energy Club, the Energy Conservation Corps, Residence Hall Environmental Commissioners, and Recyclin’ Irish.
The Energy Club provides a forum for fact-based discussion about energy technologies and resources. Informal faculty presentations to the club will provide a basis for discussion and allow the group to learn about energy-related research at Notre Dame. Students can also teach the group about energy technologies they may already have experience with through undergraduate research or class material, allowing the group to benefit from the expertise and interests of all of its members. The club will also communicate with the general student population in order to increase student awareness and interest in the science and technology of energy production.
The Energy Conservation Corps focuses on improving energy efficiency across campus by (1) increasing education and awareness about our current energy consumption and (2) incentivizing behavior change. The corps will support University efforts to increase conservation on an institutional level, including retrofitting buildings and designing more efficient buildings. We advocate for simple lifestyle changes.