Marianas Variety Guam Edition – The Local and Regional Newspaper

12 23Tue05262015

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Going green

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THERE are some pretty exciting things happening out at the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability (CIS). For one thing, they’ve got a house on Dean Circle with an electric power bill of a little more than $9 a month! That should cause some of us with several-hundred-dollar monthly electric bills to sit up and take notice.

The house, #32, looks like a perfectly ordinary Guam concrete house, but it is fitted with solar panels, energy efficient windows and appliances, and an assortment of other features – and is actually used as an office. Those of us who live in houses sucking up large quantities of electricity are invited out to see what’s been done to reduce the buildings demand on the electric grid.

In addition to the solar panel system, the house also features rain water catchments, a solar oven, and even a sustainable garden.

Meanwhile, over at the School of Education, CIS workers are supervising the installation of 52 235-watt solar modules with two inverters. When completed, that installation is expected to supply about 10 percent of the building’s power needs. “This is the third building on campus and the first major facility to use photovoltaics to  reduce energy consumption,” University of Guam President Dr. Robert Underwood says.

The university started out as a teacher-training college 60 years ago, he added, so it is fitting that the School of Education is the first major facility to embrace the renewable energy technologies. It’s also fitting that in this, UOG’s 60th anniversary year, the school is putting a major emphasis on going green through exploring sustainability on our tropical island.

UOG is actually following solar power initiatives implemented by Guam Community College, which installed photovoltaic panels on a couple of their buildings as well recently. So both of our major institutions of higher learning are leading the way into a sustainable future and showing us how it can be done.

If these things interest you – and they should – visit the house on Dean Circle. Or call the office of the Center for Island Sustainability, at 735-0219, to find out more about what they are doing, and what you can do. Anybody who thinks about these things at all begins to realize that we cannot sustain ever increasing power and water bills. The people of Guam are being priced out of their homes. We must start finding ways to sustain our lifestyle without going broke.

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