The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) Grant Making Committee is pleased to announce the selected projects for the 2015/16 funding cycle! The Committee awarded funds to 16 projects, totaling $181,368. Below is an overview of the projects that you can expect to see completed within the next academic year.

Water Recycling System for Mineral Science Laboratories ($5,325)

Funds will be used to install a water recycling system in the mineral science research laboratory housed in the Department of Earth Science. The laboratory currently utilizes two gravity-driven ‘shaking’ tables (akin to large-scale automated gold pans) to separate minerals based on their density and hydrodynamic characteristics. The major drawback is that each table requires a significant amount of water to operate. The TGIF grant will be used to develop a simple, yet novel solution – to capture the used water, filter it (to avoid contamination between samples) and recycle it back onto the tables, saving over 380,000 L of water annually.

Edible Campus Program Student Farm ($38,006)

Funding will be used to construct a small campus farm that will allow students to learn and practice agricultural techniques that address social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability while at the same time supplying the AS Food Bank with up to 12,000 pounds of healthy produce. Funding will cover the initial costs of the farm’s infrastructure, including site preparation, fencing, irrigation, lighting, raised beds, and other supplies, and for a student intern who will oversee the initial implementation of honorarium trainings.

Bren Hall LED Lighting Retrofit ($14,821)

Funds for this project will be used to purchase LED fixtures for the interior Workspace, Lab Wing Corridor, and exterior lights at Bren Hall. The project also received matching funds from Facilities Management which will cover the installation costs. By converting existing fixtures to LEDs, Bren Hall will drastically reduce energy consumption and lighting costs. This project is estimated to save 39,795 kWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by over 27,000 lbs per year.

Drosophila Incubator Replacements for Montell Laboratories ($12,343)

Funding will be used to purchase one high-efficiency incubator from Darwin Chambers to replace one of the three current drosophila incubators shared by Dr. Craig and Dr. Denise Montell’s labs. As the two largest fly labs on campus, the energy required for their space is extremely high due to the strict environmental conditions necessary for consistent drosophila culture. The new incubator, which utilizes relatively new technology, will sharply reduce energy consumption in the laboratory. This project is estimated to save 29,980 kWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by over 16,666 lbs per year. In addition to the immediate environmental impact, LabRATS will use this project as a case study for the replacement of other energy-intensive incubators on campus and nation-wide.

Growing New Ideas and Fueling Inspiration through CHESC ($12,551)

This project will provide financial support for 21 students and 3 staff from UCSB to attend the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC), June 27th-July 1st at California State University, Fullerton. CHESC is an important gathering of key stakeholders from across the state of California who are working on UC system and state wide policies. Student fellows from the UC Global Climate Leadership Initiative and the UC Global Food Initiative will be attending, as well as members of the UC System wide working groups on water, climate, green building, operations, transportation, waste, food service, and more. This grant will allow students who are engaged in sustainability to attend this event.

Creating a Solar Campus ($7,492)

The project, proposed by two undergraduate students will examine the solar potential of every roof on campus. The majority of the funding will be used to hire a graduate student advised by Professor Keith Clarke in Geography, to conduct an assessment of the solar potential on campus. The information will be presented in the form of a project proposal and report, as well as an interactive map.

Mechanical Engineering Senior Projects focused on campus sustainability ($7,500)

The proposed project is focused on engaging Mechanical Engineering seniors to work on campus sustainability initiatives as part of their senior-year projects. The TGIF funding cycle and the ME189A,B,C senior project course milestones are not in synch. To remedy this, the TGIF committee is reserving funding for projects that juniors will define in spring 2016, and complete as seniors in the 2016/17 school year. Teams of students in the junior-year engineering design class, ME153, work on team projects. This year the focus of the projects will be on finding engineering solutions to sustainability related problems. Two of the 15-20 junior-year projects will be selected to go forward as the year-long senior design project funded through TGIF.

ICA Building Hydration Stations ($6,175)

Funding will be used to install 2 Hydration Stations in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building (ICA). This will reduce the amount of single-use plastic bottles on campus and in the community.  With 580+ student athletes, staff, coaches, donors, and season ticket holders utilizing the ICA building, we estimate that with the hydration stations over 96,860 plastic bottles a year will be eliminated from the environment.

Portable Ultrasonic Flow Meter ($10,000)

Funds will be used to purchase a portable ultrasonic liquid flowmeter that will be utilized to meter water flow through our piping infrastructure as part of the campus water conservation and efficiency efforts. The FLUXUS F601 Portable Liquid Flowmeter can be used on pipes 2” to 24” inches in diameter, allowing for the metering of just about all of the liquid piping infrastructure on campus, including feed lines to mechanical equipment, effluent lines in labs, and the potable and recycled water infrastructure. In addition to using this water meter for live in-situ audits of equipment and lines, it will be incorporated and used in water conservation and sustainability related tours of the campus, as well as guest lectures and presentations. With the help of Facilities Management staff, students will also be able to check out the flowmeter for class projects.

Composting Infrastructure at Sedgwick Reserve ($5,201)

Funding will be used to purchase an Earth Cube for Sedgwick reserve. An earth cube is a small, solar powered, in-vessel composter with a capacity of 250 gallons and a thermophilic composting process as low as 21 days. Sedgwick Reserve is one of the seven reserves managed by the UCSB Natural Reserve System. As it is in a remote location, there are no waste hauling services provided to help manage the reserve’s waste from ongoing operations, temporary occupants, and events. The Earth Cube will not only reduce the amount of waste generated by the reserve, it has the potential to be an educational tool for university students, researchers, and Sedgwick staff.

UCSB Bike Share Voucher Program ($12,343)

Funds will be used to establish a voucher program within the Gaucho Rides bike share program, vouchers (~$350) will help the department purchase a new, used or donated bike from AS Bike Shop, UCSB Bookstore, CSO bike auction, etc. The Gaucho Rides bike share program is a sustainable transportation option for faculty and staff to get around campus. Benefits to this program include: promoting health and wellness; increasing employee efficiency and productivity; building on local cycling infrastructure and culture; alleviating parking issues; improving our bike-friendly status; encouraging community comradery; and, reducing our campus carbon footprint.

Pardall Center BigBellys ($7,410)

Funding will be used to purchase a set of BigBelly solar powered recycling, compost, and landfill bins at the Associated Students Pardall Center. The Pardall Center is a hub of student activity in Isla Vista and houses events, meetings, and study space for UCSB students. Currently, the only outdoor waste receptacle is a single Bertha 4-bin cluster which is serviced by A.S. Recycling. Due to the open-top nature of the Bertha, rodents, raccoons and other pests have easy access to bin contents and infestations have developed. Capacity is also a problem, as the Pardall Center is too far from the rest of A.S. Recycling’s campus routes to be serviced daily. The BigBelly solar powered units are pest proof and hold a much larger capacity than the Bertha bins, and will solve both issues. In addition, it will increase the composting infrastructure at Pardall.

El Centro Hydration Station Project ($1,803)

TGIF funding will be used to install 1 hydration station in building 406, otherwise known as El Centro. El Centro is a heavily used student space that at this time has no access to any form of drinking water. This project will help to reduce the usage of disposable water bottles used by students, staff, and faculty that utilize the space.

American Indian & Indigenous Gardens Alliance ($3,299)

The mission of the American Indian & Indigenous Gardens Alliance’s Indigenous Foods Garden Project is to promote the well-being and health of the UCSB Native American Student. The funds awarded will be used to purchase the tools and materials necessary to build sustainable infrastructure for the garden space, which includes a tool shed, tools, fencing, and materials for the permaculture-style wicking beds. The garden will serve as a space for American Indian & Indigenous students and west campus gardeners/residents to learn about social responsibility through sustainable living practices via closed-loop food systems, to have an outdoor study area for indigenous foods to be integrated into UCSB’s Native American & Indigenous Studies curriculum and co-curriculum (under the Department of Religious Studies), and to have a means to develop a close-knit community for American Indian & Indigenous Students and allies, in addition to the Family Student Housing community through cultivation, preparation, and cooking of the foods grown in the garden.

Vehicle Incentive Program ($17,050)

Personal vehicles account for more than 25% of California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) per year. An Electric Vehicle (EV) in California emits 4,000 lbs. of CO2 equivalent, compared to a gas powered car which emits 15,000 lbs. making a transition to electrified or hybrid transportation is needed as soon as possible in order for us to meet global climate change mitigation targets. Unfortunately, EV/hybrid adoption in California (which has the highest adoption rate in the US) remains low. High upfront costs, commonly referred to as “sticker shock,” are often cited as common obstacles preventing car buyers from choosing an EV.

A TGIF Vehicle Incentive Program (VIP) is being established to address this issue. Offering an additional incentive will push departmental car buyers away from making the mistake of purchasing conventional gas powered vehicles instead of EVs/hybrids or greener options. Criteria is currently being developed to determine the incentive amount that will be offered for each EV vehicle. The incentive per EV will range between $2-5k depending on the make and model.

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Replacement project ($20,050)

This grant will be used to provide monetary incentives to laboratories on campus to replace old Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) freezers with new, energy efficient ULT freezers. The new freezers consume about one third to half the amount of power of the old freezers.

The TGIF committee is offering a $3,000 incentive for labs to purchase new Stirling Ultracold freezers to replace existing freezers. We are also offering a $1,000 incentive to purchase new Thermo Fisher TSX600D freezers, which are slightly less energy efficient than the Stirling freezers, but still far more energy efficient than conventional freezers.