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Major green efforts under way at UCSD

By UCSD

Students entering the UCSD campus this month will find a next-generation array of green innovations.

And as an incentive to keep energy consumption as low as possible, each student in the new Village apartments will receive individual electricity bills.

Underlining its reputation as one of the greenest campuses in the country - Greenopia ranked it ninth out of the 100 largest U.S. colleges for its “environmental performance” - UCSD is initiating a new 1,000-bed “village” project for transfer students that is aiming for LEED silver certification.

“UC San Diego is a living laboratory for climate change solutions,” said Mark Cunningham, director of Housing, Dining and Hospitality at UCSD. “We have one of the nation’s biggest student housing construction projects under way - nearly 4,000 beds over the next four years. We will be advancing seven housing projects simultaneously, and they’re going to be green.”

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Some are going for LEED gold certification.

“If we show these citizens of tomorrow they can live without plastic, air conditioning and other unnecessary amenities during their life on campus, they’ll take these good consumer habits out into their future world,” Cunningham said.

“And students will eat knowing that they are contributing to sustainability, social consciousness and their own healthy diets,” added Krista Mays, sustainability manager for Housing, Dining and Hospitality. “Our dining halls and markets will offer cage-free eggs; fair trade coffee, tea and sugar; organic food; and locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

In another first-time effort to help students with their sustainability efforts, seven student “Econauts” have been hired to provide peer-to-peer education. The students will work with the campus residential life staff to educate students and dining customers about ways to reduce their carbon footprint and help UCSD meet sustainability goals.

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Among these goals is reducing water consumption by 20 percent and achieving zero waste by 2012.

Sustainability is evident on back-to-school arrival, where, in place of lawn around the new buildings, there’s native planting in bio-swale, which washes water through rocks and is absorbed into the land, minimizing the need for irrigation.

Entering their suites, the transfer students will receive a reusable recycling bag in which they can deposit plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper and newspaper, metal containers and cardboard to take to central recycling locations.