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UH Hilo going green

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Date: Friday, March 13, 2009
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The newly established Energy Savings/Sustainability Committee at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is off to a flying start, having compiled a list of over 100 projects and ideas for sustainability and energy savings on campus, many of which are in various stages of progress, according to Dr. Debra Fitzsimons, vice chancellor for administrative affairs and co-chair of the committee.

“It’s very exciting to see such positive movement take place in the short period of time we’ve been working to make our campus more green,” Fitzsimons said.

The committee was appointed by Chancellor Rose Tseng in Fall 2008 with the goal of identifying energy savings and sustainability projects and to save as much electricity as possible during this period of economic slowdown and tight budgets. According to Fitzsimons, some of the projects in the planning stages involve campus-wide installation of solar panels; energy audits of campus buildings; and purchase and installation of light sensor units in offices, labs and classrooms; so lights automatically go off when not in use. The light sensor project is already underway in the University Classroom Building (UCB).

“With just the simple things we’ve done so far, we’ve seen a decrease in projected electricity costs,” Fitzsimons said. “We’re pleased with our short-term progress. We want to be a responsible leader in sustainable practices; it’s the right thing to do.”

The committee is setting up various resources, such as a Web page and a “UHH is Going Green” monthly newsletter with information about ongoing projects and ways to get involved. Faculty, staff and student volunteers are still needed to serve on the committee and to assist in many of its efforts. Special events and ways for the community to become involved in sustainability efforts are also being planned.

If interested in volunteering or for more information, please contact Fitzsimons at (808) 974-7750 or

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