> Building for the Future: The Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies
>Julie Phillips is the Coordinator of the Environmental Studies Program
>and an instructor in the Biological Sciences at De Anza College. She spent
>7 years studying habitat utilization of tule elk, a subspecies of elk endemic
>to California, in the Mt. Hamilton region of the Diablo Range and other areas
>of California. Julie has extensive experience in tropical studies and has
>conducted courses in the tropical forests of Costa Rica for the past 10
>Julie is the project manager for the Statewide Energy Management Program,
>SEMP, which is committed to providing low cost, accessible and relevant
>training in the field of energy management for technicians, managers and
>the public. SEMP also promotes local and state energy policy to encourage
>energy efficiency, resource conservation, renewable technologies and
>sustainability within the California Community College System.
>Using the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies as an example, Julie
>will discuss the importance of making sustainable building the standard
>within every community; sustainable building is the first line of defense
>in reducing dependence on foreign oil and offsetting global warming. The
>Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies, a new interdisciplinary facility
>to be constructed at De Anza College and scheduled to open in 2004/2005
>will be a model of sustainability and energy efficiency.
Julie Phillips began her talk with a pop quiz. She wanted to know how much the State of California invests in new buildings every year ($2.5 Billion), how much of Americas energy is consumed by buildings (~25%), how much of Americas electricity is consumed by buildings (~60%), and how much of California's solid waste is generated by building construction (30%). In going over the answers she handed out prizes to the people that had called out the correct answers.
Then Julie explained that she had gotten involved in energy policy issues because in her work observing ecosystems she noticed that our environment is changing in troubling ways. Since Environmental Studies is a blending of sciences and social sciences, and most importantly a problem solving discipline, she aimed straight for the heart of the matter, the way energy is used in buildings. To illustrate the point, she said more energy flows out of buildings through the windows than goes through the Alaska pipeline, the energy efficiency standards of our buildings have a tremendous impact.
Julie Phillips believes that California's schools, colleges and universities are important in the effort to develop solutions to environmental problems. California's community colleges and K-12 schools are located in every region of California and are the basis of democracy and grassroot movements. The California Community College system is the largest institution of higher learning in the world with over 1.6 million students in the 108 colleges located throughout California.
With this in mind, the De Anza College team established design criteria of energy efficiency and resource conservation for the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies so that it would become a showcase for sustainable building design for schools, colleges and universities. Their goal is to is build a sustainable building model for the Community College system which will help educate other organizations and the public about good design techniques and sustainability.
Ms. Phillips didn't spend much time on it during her talk, but in the notes she handed out is an interesting ten step approach to Sustainability:
1) View ecology and economy as mutually dependent.
2) Reduce the consumption of energy, land, water, and other resources.
3) Minimize the production of waste and pollution.
4) Create healthy and productive classrooms and workspaces.
5) Demonstrate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
6) Encourage use of environmentally preferable products.
7) Promote the use of transportation alternatives.
8) Optimize operational and maintenance practices through education and training.
9) Foster a team approach to understanding and addressing changing environmental issues.
10) Encourage policies and procedures for schools and colleges to achieve a leadership position with regard to environmental stewardship.
For more info, please visit: http://environmentalstudies.deanza.fhda.edu/