It is not strange to suggest that we are getting used to odd weather. We are used to seeing extreme weather around the world. Meteorologists are no longer shocked either as they track down a number of strange and extreme weather systems these recent years. Many of us now see environmental problems as the most serious challenges we face.
Many environmental experts diagnose this phenomenon and conclude that the cause is from greenhouse gas such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that humans produce. Global warming is what leads to the climate change phenomenon.
|▲ Dongguk University is conducting an energy conservation drive. It is important that students actively participate in energy saving campaigns./Photograph: Kim Yu-young|
At the time the agreement was signed Korea was considered as a developing country and was not burdened by the emission reductions. But by 2013, however, Korea is expected to join the members of countries that should reduce the consumptions compulsorily. Because of this the Korea government must take action to meet the agreement. During a cabinet meeting on July 12th, the government set exact targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the range of the law for reducing greenhouse gases was extended.
To be fair, university societies should also make strenuous efforts to decrease their massive energy consumption and try to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas.
Universities were deemed the main culprit of wasting energy and releasing greenhouse gas, according to the report of heavy energy consumption organization published by the Korea Energy Management Corporation. Among heavy energy consumption organizations, commercial buildings made the top ranks followed by universities, hotels, hospitals, and laboratories.
Fortunately, Dongguk University was not included in the list of the Top 23 heavy energy universities. But it seems there is a lot of energy wasting that is leaking around the Dongguk campus. Lights remain on in classrooms when nobody is using them. This is a small problem when compared to lavish air conditioners that remained turned on.
Why do universities consume such a large amount of energy? One main reason is cheap electronic rates. Since the energy consumption in universities is classified by educational energy consumption, energy consumption is loosely administered without worrying about heaving charges. Another reason is the experimental apparatus that spends large amount of electricity.
Jin Cha-bum, a manager of maintenance and management of facilities for Dongguk University, said, “Of the total energy consumption at our university, over 70% is from electricity consumption. It is very hard to cut down on our electricity fares since most computers and experimental apparatus are out of our control.” He added that “The key point of saving electricity is by monitoring our air conditioning and heating.”
The Consumption of Energy at Dongguk University
The consumption of energy at our university consists of three resources: electricity, LNG and oil. LNG and oil are used in public places where many people gather like in school restaurants, gyms and swimming pool. These are well-managed as many people are aware and building managers are present. Our total energy use rests on saving electricity. Some methods of saving electricity are replacing old bulbs with LED, and installing sensor bulbs where few people access. Maintaining adequate temperatures in classrooms also contributes to the school total energy savings.
To manage energy more systemically universities are stepping towards a green campus campaign. In the United States 152 university presidents have formed the University Global Climate Change Committee and are sharing the burden of coping with energy savings. In Korea, universities focus on both raising the awareness of becoming environmental friendly students and establishing energy saving systems.
The Ministry of the Environment supports ten universities with the name of Low Carbon Green Campuses. The support encourages the universities to create eco-friendly school buildings and adopt environmental policies. The chosen universities are as follows: Dongguk (Gyeong-ju campus), Seoul Women’s, Kangnam, Myongji, Silla, Yonsei (Wonju campus) and Chungnam National University, Gyeongin National University of Education, Keimyung and Yeungjin Junior college.
Here are examples of the exertion of universities; Hanyang, Dongguk and Seoul Women’s University.
Hanyang University has emerged as a successful example for students joining the energy savings campaign. In every building, devices of energy consumption are set up. Passer bys can check how much energy is consumed in each building. Members of Hanyang can record and compare the present consumption with previous month’s consumptions. What is more exceptional is the incentive money which is saved from students and is returned to the members. 44 million won and 7 million won which were saved from electricity were returned to the students and the faculties in 2009, 2010 respectively. Jung Kyu-sik, the manager of general affairs of Hanyang University ERICA campus, said, “Revealing the exact amount of energy consumption arouses students feeling of thriftiness.”
Dongguk University at Gyeong-ju has carried forward projects to make our green campus by dividing it into five sectors: 1) the field of electric installation, 2) landscaping, 3) environment, 4) work of art, and 5) architecture. Energy saving facilities were installed and there was a campaign about energy conservation. Also, eco-friendly places were built for people to relax. Furthermore, energy saving material is being used in buildings.
The Ecology Education Center was established to provide environment classes to students in 2011. The center also established ties with Temple Stay. Every vacation, college students and ordinary people can stay in a temple for two nights and three days where they can do meditation and learn about ecological environments. Also, the College of Energy and Environment made an agreement with the Center for New Regeneration Energy for the cooperation between firms and universities for training top-level human resource researchers and developing new regeneration energies.
|▲ A map of photovoltaic system for the new dormitory at Dongguk University.|
Dongguk University, Seoul, expects to have heating and cooling systems that use solar power in the new dormitory. An official of the Business Development Team said, “It expects to put solar panels on the entire roof of the new dormitory, so electric energy from the sun can be used to provide electricity.”
Seoul Women's University
Seoul Women’s University formed an organization to make an eco-campus based on the consciousness of crisis about climate change and the pursuit of sustainable development. The key projects are reducing CO2 emissions, saving energy and resources and making students become environmentally-minded. One of their projects is that freshman have to take a class related to the environment such as Climate Change and Green Growth. Students also can learn how environment theories can be applied to the field by going on a field trip to the environmental groups and ministry of environment and doing internship there. What is more is that the university offers an eco-scholarship to students who do eco-activities on positive lines.
The Near Future of Energy Saving Phenomenon
How in the near future will campuses voluntarily save massive energy? As Korea is expected to be burdened by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the government will mandate that universities must save on their energy consumption by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Universities will be given specific limits on the amount of emissions. Universities which have already installed efficient energy saving systems will be rewarded by cash.
At present, most universities have made an effort to save energy and are very positive with the green campus movement. We still must ask the questions, how is your classroom? Does your classroom have adequate temperatures? Did you turn off the power when you left the room? Are you an energy saver?
|▲ These are solar panels. Electric energy from the sun can be used to provide electricity./Provided by Dongguk University Gyeong-ju|
Lee Jong-seok, Kim Yu-young firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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