Carbon, Green Growth to the Eco-Campus
Carbon, Green Growth to the Eco-Campus
  • Reporter Lee Suh-young
  • 승인 2011.03.02 20:49
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‘The lights never go out in POSTECH’s library and classes.’ The university public relations team may not use this phrase anymore because of a new policy on saving energy. POSTECH’s saving greenhouse gas and energy union made a plan to reduce energy consumption with the installation of motion-sensor controlled lights.

   
▲ The lights of Tae-Joon Park Library do not go off even at night.

Framework Act of low carbon, green growth

President Baik adopted the government’s recommendations addressing climate change based on the Framework Act on ‘Low Carbon, Green Growth,’ which commits the entire country to reducing 30 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The average annual energy consumption of POSETCH is 21,868 toe (toe: the amount of energy released by burning one tone of crude oil, approximately 42 Giga Jules), an amount high enough to have the university designated as a high energy-consuming industry which uses more than 11,973 toe per year. Fourteen other universities and hospitals which are designated as high energy-consuming industries have to set reduction goals and meet them by 2012.

 

▲ 2007-2010 electricity usage and annual payment

Annual energy consumption at POSETCH

President Baik announced the formation of a faculty task force in February to study potential cuts in POSTECH’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Detailed emission reductions by 2012 are not yet defined, but President Baik called the 30 percent target a “long-term goal,” indicating that POSTECH will develop yearly plans for future reductions.

The annual energy consumption at POSTECH has been increasing in the last four years. In 2010, POSTECH paid 7.9 billion KRW for energy, including 2.9 billion KRW for the usage of its accelerators, while POSTECH paid only 5.8 billion KRW in 2007. According to the study conducted by the Korea Energy Management Cooperation, POSTECH is the second highest energy consuming university in the country.

According to the Framework Act, it will be 2012 when POSTECH comes substantially under the reduction program. In order to estimate a realizable reduction amount, POSTECH is going to build a greenhouse gas inventory system carried out by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Reduction programs in 2011 already in place include campus-wide replacement of lighting by high efficiency LED lamps, the installation of motion-sensor controlled lights, and the improvement of old heat exchangers. The program is expected to curtail spending on energy by up to 86.2 million KRW.

The acts of students

“My roommate leaves computers on all the time,” said Kei-Byoung Lee (‘10, ME). “I mention it, but he doesn’t seem to believe that turning off computers has any impact on the environment.”

In POSTECH, such attitudes are pervasive and difficult to change. Currently, students are not required to pay bills for the electricity they use. “There was an attempt to install electricity meters in each building but it wasn’t successful,” said Jae Hwan Kim (Master’s candidate, ITCE), the previous leader of SAVE, which is a unique student club for environmental issues. “In order for POSTECH to be receptive, the students have to make noise,” he added.

To become an EcoCampus

A movement called the Green Campus Project first started in the USA and UK. In 2009 and 2010, after noticeable accomplishments, POSTECH also became a member of the Korean Association for Green Campus Initiative and is seeking ways to become a sustainable university for future generations. One aim of the Green Campus Project is cutting down on emissions of greenhouse gases just like other industries, but this needs to be approached in an educational way.

Conducting studies and research on green technology and sharing results with society should be a major role of the university. Moreover, universities can provide courses and train specialists on climate change. By doing this, universities can be acclaimed for sustainable development and secure leadership on global warming issues.

“Lighting off one building is an out-of-date way,” said Ohyoon Kwon, of the Physical Plant Maintenance Team. He added that energy efficiency demands much more than students remembering to turn off their computers and lights, but still, in order to invest in high-cost energy saving installations, our university members should have more concern about environmental issues. “We meet a situation where people live in a state of ignorance about their impact,” he explained. “In order to overcome the ignorance, we need to start with the small things around us. Turning off computer monitors when not using them is good enough for a start.”


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