UC Partners with GovEnergy to Highlight the University’s Green Scene

By: Carol Clinton
     Lauren Koch

The nationwide GovEnergy workshop and tradeshow celebrated its 14th year this August in Cincinnati.  UC partnered with GovEnergy and showcased some of the reasons it was named “one of the nation’s top green universities.”  Attendees were able to tour UC, one of the “world’s most beautiful campuses” and see a glimpse of UC research in energy and sustainability.

This unique partnership – the first time GovEnergy worked with a university – resulted from the vision of Rick Koch, a member of UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Alumni Board and Director of Facilities Management for the USEPA Cincinnati.  Rick, along with support from CEAS Dean Carol Montemagno and Dr. Tim Keener, worked to highlight UC’s accomplishments during this year’s GovEnergy conference.                          

For the past 13 years, GovEnergy has worked to address the challenges of federal energy management.  Through their annual workshops and trade shows, their stated mission is “to provide effective energy management training to federal employees and their associated stakeholders.  In doing so, it fosters opportunities to further educate and encourage the best application of practice, products, and services as they relate to energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, and greenhouse gas management within the federal sector.”

CoGen Tour

Technical Tour of UC’s Cogeneration Plant hosted by Joe Harrell, Kevin Woosley and Michael Straub

Some 4,000 attendees from all branches and agencies of the US government came to this year’s GovEnergy conference which was held at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Center August 7th through 10th.  The conference featured a tradeshow with more than 250 exhibitors and offered more than 150 training sessions.  Through a combination of a workshop, technical tour and student poster exhibit, UC highlighted some of the ways it has earned the title of “one of the nation’s top green universities.”

A number of attendees toured UC Main Campus and Central Utility Plant plus the USEPA Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center (AWBERC).  The UC hosts were Mary Beth McGrew (the University Architect, F-P+D+C), Dr. Margaret Kupferle, Dr. Hazem Elzarka and Carol Clinton (all from CEAS), Pete Luken (F-P+D+C)  and Kevin Woosley and Michael Straub (both from Utilities) with additional information provided by Joe Harrell (Utilities).  The team shared insights from UC’s transformation into one of the world’s most beautiful campuses, including our 6 LEED certified buildings (encompassing both new construction and renovations), the President’s Advisory Council on Environment and Sustainability, our state-of-the art cogeneration facility, and our Center for Sustaining the Urban Environment (SUE).  SUE is a collaborative effort between CEAS, DAAP, A&S, CECH and Medicine, and has been named an Ohio Advanced Energy Center of Excellence.    

Poster Session

UC Student Poster Showcase on Energy & Sustainability

UC research in energy and sustainability was showcased through a student poster session at the conference.  Tim McGeorge (CEAS IT) created a webpage for students to submit poster abstracts. This enabled 14 students from CEAS, DAAP and A&S who attended the conference to discuss their projects on energy and sustainability.  Topics included biodiesel generation (Jingjing Wang and Qingshi Tu), a sensor network for storm water runoff (Andrew Rettig and collaborators), GHG and sustainability modeling and planning (Carol Clinton), Intelligent Maintenance Systems for energy systems (Mohammad Rezvani), and electro spun fibers for photovoltaic solar cells (Nicholas Bedford).

Additionally, a GovEnergy session on Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas Management was moderated by Carol Clinton, a CEAS Environmental Engineering PhD Candidate.  Her session was called “Green is an Attitude:  Not Just a Job.”  The intent was to explore out-of-the box thinking and create non-traditional coalitions and tactics to enhance sustainability efforts.  Carol reflects on the experience by saying, “The most wonderful thing about our participation was the interdisciplinary collaborations between several UC departments, even reaching beyond UC to link with the USEPA.  That cross-functional approach is really a hallmark of sustainability.  Being able to compare strategies with the giant institutions of our Federal government was a great opportunity and showed what progress UC has made.”

Those who partook in the activities left with new insights into UC’s capabilities.  Many were overheard commenting on UC’s beautiful campus, outstanding facilities and innovative research.