Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Flowering among concrete


FAU received a “B-” this year. The grade isn’t based on academics; it’s based on how environmentally friendly the school is.

Every year, universities nationwide are graded on how green they are on a Green Report Card, which is compiled by the Sustainable Endowment Institute through independent research.

This year’s score is an improvement upon last year’s, as FAU and Mission Green Student Association, a student organization, have been making vast strides to decrease FAU’s environmental impact according to Alex Van Mecl, president and founder of Mission Green’s Student Association. Some of their attempts, such as a bike program, fell through because the donated bicycles intended for student use vanished.

Despite setbacks and a lack of funds, FAU has succeeded in making itself a little greener by building toward that goal.


Solar panels

Since February, the Higher Education Complex of the Fort Lauderdale campus has been soaking up the sun — literally. With its 252 solar panels, the building is curbing up to 25 percent of its energy demand, saving 4,000 gallons of oil, preserving over 4,200 trees and avoiding pouring 70,000 pounds of CO2 into the air annually, according to FAU officals.

The project was started as a final project by two graduate students of the School of Urban and Regional Planning. It was largely funded by FAU, FPL, the state and a private donor.

In addition to receiving solar panels, the Higher Education Complex also received a flat-screen monitor for the lobby that displays the energy output of the panels along with their current environmental benefits. The monitor’s information is also online in a live feed at www.fausolar.com.


FAU/UF joint-use building

UF and FAU will soon be working under the same roof at FAU’s Davie campus. They’re going to coexist in the building being constructed on College Avenue. The joint-use facility will be mainly dedicated toward Everglades research, focusing on restoration of the environment.

In addition to finding fixes for the Everglades, the building is helping out the environment through its construction. As an LEED Silver structure, the building is being constructed from 50 percent wood, and 25 percent of the construction materials are recycled. Outside, the building’s plants are native to South Florida, which means they require little to no irrigation, resulting in lessened water use.

Inside the environmentally friendly structure, students will find 100-seat classrooms on the first floor, UF and FAU research facilities on the second and third, and offices for FAU and the College of Arts and Letters on the fourth floor. The building is set to be completed in the fall.

[Source: www.pirtleconstruction.com]


New College of Engineering & Computer Science Building

Sounds of power drills, trucks moving about and metal meeting metal fill the air throughout construction zones of the Boca campus. The construction workers aren’t building another gym; they’re building an ecosystem.

 Or, at least, that’s what the soon-to-be-completed College of Engineering & Computer Science Building will be like. The new structure is an LEED Platinum building. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a ratings system that judges how environmentally friendly a building is. The buildings are rated on a scale starting at Copper, then Silver, then Gold, and then the pinnacle of Platinum. It’s gauged through criteria like how many resources the building uses, the trash that’s produced during construction, and even the distance its building blocks had to travel to the construction site, according to usgbc.org.

 “It’s a very ambitious thing to do,” said Alex Van Mecl. “The Engineering Building is being constructed from local materials. It is going to rely heavily on natural light and, just like an ecosystem, recycle some of its water supply.”

A streaming webcam feed of the building’s construction can be found at www.eng.fau.edu/gogreen.


[Olenka Luna and Cheryl Gordon contributed to the reporting for this story.]

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