Two recommendations arise from the success stories: installation of solar panels and the promotion of drying racks for laundry rooms on campus.
Installing solar panels may be a very large step financially, but there are some options available. Jan Gardner of Willamette University suggests “partnering with outside businesses that would provide, install, and maintain the PV array for a period of 20 years in exchange for us giving them the benefits from putting the electrical energy created back on the grid. That would take the sting out of "first cost" while still pursuing cutting edge ecologically sustainable practices.” This seems like a reasonable idea, as long as some businesses would be willing to support us in this way. There may also be grants available to help financially.
There are many positive aspects to installing solar panels that Puget Sound should consider. First of all, the commitment to sustainability on this campus could be much more visible, similar to Willamette’s reasoning for installation. Along with that, there would be a reduction in our carbon footprint. Similar to the amount of waste avoided when recycled rather than thrown in the garbage, we would be preventing a certain amount of waste of electricity. Instead of using electricity from the grid, we would be able to provide a small amount of our own.
We recommend that in collaboration with the Resident Student Association (RSA)’s micro-fridge rental program that they offer every year to students, the university offer clothes drying racks to use in place of the electric powered dryers that are currently in the residence halls, and to encourage students living off campus to use them as well.
A pilot project can be tested in the 2008-09 school year where the university advertises the availability of drying rack rentals as well as encourages students to purchase their own to keep for the remainder of their time at the university and beyond. Part of this program will require the university to offer sufficient advertising and background on the program, especially to new students to explain that as an institution we are trying to make ourselves more carbon neutral and it is a process that all students are strongly encouraged to take part in.