Green Energy Fund

Overview

The Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) is used to assist USF's St. Petersburg campus in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and meeting goals of the university’s Climate Action Plan by investing in alternative energy, reducing waste and improving conservation on campus. The fund directly involves students with sustainability initiatives and alternative energy projects that benefit the campus and the community.


The fund was initiated as a student-led campaign in 2007. With support from the University of South Florida Tampa’s Office of Sustainability, faculty, staff and various student organizations, the SGEF proposition was championed through the USF Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors.


At the USF St. Petersburg campus, SGEF is financed through a nominal student fee of $1.00 per credit hour. Students vote via a student body referendum every three years to approve initiation of the fee and affirm any subsequent modifications. The last SGEF referendum was passed in 2017 with an 88% approval by the USF St. Petersburg campus student body.

How it works: Any student can come to SGEF with a sustainability project proposal, from installing solar panels to replacing plastic with reusable containers. They present their proposal in front of the group – which consists of students, faculty and staff members – highlighting the project, the cost, the timeline and energy savings or reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The organization then discusses the proposal and asks questions to the student before finally taking a vote. If approved, the group works with the student who proposed the project to help get it implemented.

For more on SGEF and meeting time information contact Emma Jacobs.


CURRENT PROJECTS

Recent and current projects aimed at producing alternative energy, reducing carbon emissions and waste, and enhancing conservation on campus:

  • 100 kW solar array on the top of the parking garage that powers the garage
  • 40 kW solar carport outside the Warehouse Labs, that produces 15% of energy for biology and chemistry labs
  • Orca biodigester system that has diverted 2,140 pounds of food from the landfill
  • Led lights on 2 floors of Residence Hall One
  • Water bottle refill stations
  • Ceramic window film on the RHO dorms blocking 81% of infrared rays and 99.9% ultraviolet rays
  • Bike share program
  • A zero waste initiative allocating 20 recycling bins across campus

In addition, SGEF played a critical part in the development of the university’s climate action plan. After an extensive analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation usage, energy supply and demand as well as solid waste management, SGEF, working alongside the university’s sustainability planner and the City of St. Petersburg, developed the Climate Action Plan guiding the university and the city to reach their sustainability goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.


PROJECT ARCHIVE

2017:

  • Recycling Bins (Phase 3) Additional Outdoor
  • Poynter Solar (40kW) Carport Array
  • Hydroponic Tower Garden
  • Heat Rejection Window Film for RHO
  • Campus Bike Share Program Upgrade
  • Pool Heater Cover
  • Electric J24 Boat Motors

2016:

  • Kimberly Clark RightCycle Recyclable Glove
  • 100 kW Solar Array on 5th Ave. Parking Garage
  • 1kW Solar PV for Food Forest
  • Soccer Field LED Lighting Upgrade
  • Recreation Center Lighting Upgrade
  • Food Forest Irrigation System

2015:

  • LED Lighting- USF St. Petersburg Soccer Field
  • Project Investigator: Mike Leggett
  • Recycle Stations Phase II
  • Project Investigator: Mike Leggett
  • Keeping Our Environment Fit(Only LED Lights Part)
  • Project Investigator: Kaitlin McKeever
  • RHO + USC Water Bottle Refill Stations
  • Parking Garage LED Lighting Upgrade (Phase 2)
  • Outdoor Recycle Bins (Phase 2)

2014:

  • Water Bottle Refill Stations (Phase 1)

2013:

FALL 2013

  • Parking Garage LED light Retrofit (Phase 2)
    The previous lighting in the parking garage was inefficient, short-lived, and required disposal through hazardous waste due to mercury levels. Phase two installed LED lights on all floors of the parking garage retrofitting 342 light fixtures. Phase two reduces the consumption of the garage by an additional 340,000 KWH/Yr, enough to offset the consumption of 33 single family American homes. It reduces the electricity consumption by a total of 65%. The New LED fixtures use Occupancy and Daylight Harvesting Sensors that allow each fixture to adjust light output in real time in response to daylight and traffic.
    Project Investigator: Caleb Suwak
  • Bottle Refill Station in RHO
    The Elkay EZH2O® bottle refill stations offers an alternative to endless amounts of plastic water bottles. The refill station features a sanitary no-touch sensor with an automatic 20-second shut off timer. The refill station has a quick fill rate and it counts the quantity of plastic bottles diverted from the waste stream and displays the number on a green LCD screen.  The refill station also features a 3000 gallon capacity WaterSentry® Plus filtration with a visual LED Filter Monitor to indicate when replacement is necessary.
    Project Investigator: Kimberly Hardin/ RHO Hall Council

SPRING 2013

  • Recycling Bins
    Recycling on campus was spearheaded by students. SGEF helped fund the purchasing of recycled trash bins, which have sections for regular trash, aluminum, and plastic around the campus.There are 20 bins placed around the campus. SGEF funded 90% of the project, and The USF St. Petersburg Student Government Association funded the remaining 10%. Each bin is made in The United States, using 937 recycled milk jugs.
    Project Investigator: Sophia Constantine
    • Hybrid Waterfront Truck
    • 5th Ave. Parking Garage LED Lighting Upgrade
    • Zero-Energy Fitness Equipment
    • Outdoor Recycling Bins (Phase 1)

2012:

FALL 2012

  • Parking Garage LED light Retrofit (Phase 1)
    The previous lighting in the parking garage was inefficient, short-lived, and required disposal through hazardous waste due to mercury levels. This project was divided into two phases.The first phase of this project was to install Energy-efficient LED lights on the first floor of the parking garage. 46 fixtures were replaced with the new lights and consume 75% less energy and last ten times longer than the previous light source. Phase 1 reduced energy usage by 69,250KWH/Year, enough to offset the consumption of 6 single family American homes for 1 year.
    Project Investigator: David O’Neill
  • Cardio Loft (Phase 2)
    In the USF St. Petersburg fitness center SGEF has funded The Green Cardio Loft. The loft has Woodway Curve treadmills and Green Machine bikes, and ellipticals. The treadmills are known as Net Zero treadmills because are completely powered by the runner and do not connect to an electrical outlet. The bikes and ellipticals in the loft create energy when being used and put that energy back into the grid to offset energy used by the Fitness Center. There is also a system on the wall that track the energy output from the machines.
    Project Investigator: Zach Oppenheim
  • Bottle Refill Stations
    The Elkay EZH2O® bottle refill stations offers an alternative to endless amounts of plastic water bottles. The refill station features a sanitary no-touch sensor with an automatic 20-second shut off timer. The refill station has a quick fill rate and it counts the quantity of plastic bottles diverted from the waste stream and displays the number on a green lcd screen. The refill station also features a 3000 gallon capacity WaterSentry® Plus filtration with a visual LED Filter Monitor to indicate when replacement is necessary.
    Project Investigator: Mike Leggett

SPRING 2012

  • Solar Docks and Solstice Pole
    The Solar Power Dok is a picnic table with eight seats made of recycled materials. The Dok’s umbrella has 3 separate solar panels that can collect up to 135 watts of power. The energy captured by the Solar Dok is used to power high intensity LED lights for nighttime use, four power outlets, and four USB type power outlets. The two Solar Power Dok’s are located by the harbor behind Coquina. The Solstice Pole in front of the STG building has a solar panel that harnesses energy from the sun that charges electric devices just like the Dok.
    Project Investigator: Catie Wonders
  • Hybrid Truck
    The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid edition truck was purchased for the Waterfront Association to transport equipment and students to events around the state. Before the Hybrid Truck, the Waterfront rented vehicles for $3,000 per year and was spending an additional $3,692 on fuel. The Hybrid Truck helps the waterfront save $1,292 in fuel per year, and saves approximately $4,292 on total vehicle expenses each year. By using a Hybrid Truck, the Waterfront reduces their CO2 emissions by approximately 6395 pounds per year.
    Project Investigator: Jon Ellington
  • Cardio Loft (Phase 1)
    In the USF St. Petersburg fitness center SGEF has funded The Green Cardio Loft. The loft has Woodway Curve treadmills and Green Machine bikes, and ellipticals. The treadmills are known as Net Zero treadmills because are completely powered by the runner and do not connect to an electrical outlet. The bikes and ellipticals in the loft create energy when being used and put that energy back into the grid to offset energy used by the Fitness Center. There is also a system on the wall that track the energy output from the machines.
    Project Investigator: Zach Oppenheim