Archive for September, 2015

Green NAU Wine of the Year Winner!

(Don’t Bring Glass to Tailgates!!)

Since last year, Green NAU has been recycling at home football game tailgate parties.  Before we started recycling, hundreds of pounds of recyclable materials and glass ended up in the landfill.

NAU cannot recycle glass at these events, so we encourage everyone attending the tailgate parties to purchase beer in aluminum cans, as well as canned or boxed wine.

In an effort to educate tailgate attendees about the benefits of canned or boxed wine, Green NAU partnered with Vino Loco to hold a wine tasting event to determine the best boxed/canned wine to bring to NAU’s tailgate parties.

Green Wine Picture

Vino Loco manger Gabriel Holden and green wine tasting attendee Wendy McBride enjoying the event.

Besides being recyclable at tailgates, boxed wine has a carbon footprint that is less than half of the equivalent bottles (Source) and less packaging = less waste (85% less waste). Also, aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable!

Jacob Dottle, the communication intern for the Environmental Caucus, interviewed Gabriel Holden from Vino Loco about the Green Wine of the Year event, and Carole Kennelly from the Grand Canyon Wine Co. about their winning canned wine.

Vino Loco’s Gabriel Holden explained that, “our culture at Vino Loco has always strongly supported hosting events promoting a progressive cause such as Green NAU’s Green Wine of the Year.  Boxed and especially the higher quality canned wines have been increasing in sales at Vino Loco and I would expect them to become much more mainstream in the coming years.  I would expect to see them at every gas station and liquor store around the country sooner than later. The event at Vino Loco sponsoring Green NAU’s Green Wine of the Year was a success! There were about fifty people who participated and voted in the Year’s winner – Grand Canyon Traveller Red Blend & Grand Canyon Traveller White Blend—both a canned wine.”

Green Wine Winner

Winner of Green NAU’s Wine of the Year: Grand Canyon Winery’s Arizona Red Wine

Carole Kennelly, from Grand Canyon Winery explained their efforts to make a more sustainable product, “We decided to do the wine, which came out about two months ago, and is 100% Arizona wine.  All of our grapes come from seven vineyards in Arizona, predominantly from the Wilcox area and the Verde Valley.  Many other wine companies get their grapes from California or from overseas.  This contributes to large amounts of air pollution due to the transportation process.  Obtaining our grapes from local vineyards helps reduce our impact on the Earth.”

“Our main reason for making wine in a can is because we love mountain climbing, river rafting and other outdoor activities, where bringing wine in a bottle is not very practical.  Many river rafting trips do not allow people to bring glass bottles, due to the possibility of the glass breaking in the river.  The wine in a can allows people to bring smaller portions of wine with them, while minimizing on weight and trash.”

“The green wine event was great!  It really helps to pull the community together and to have a great time.  It is really great to team up with local businesses,” Carole concluded.

“The wine can be bought at the Barrel and Bottle House, which is located on the corner of Cottage and San Francisco.  The wine is sold in single 8oz cans or in 4 pack of cans.  Proper Meats and Provisions serves up delicious local fare at the Barrel + Bottle, so this gives people a chance to try our wine, beer and have a little bit of food.”



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NAU Employee Explains Enterprise Car Sharing Experience

By Rachelle Berry


The Enterprise Carshare program provides access to Hybrid cars for young students and staff. In the beginning of the semester I signed up for the program during a promotion for $5 and was given a card to access the car. I was able to use the Carshare program to move, do laundry, and drop off items for donation at the end of the semester.

The two cars available live outside of the Union and the Dub. A few minutes before my registration time, I arrived at the shiny red Prius in front of the Union around 3:10. You can reserve your time in increments of 15 minutes and arrive up to 5 minutes early to take possession of the red or silver Prius. I took out my card and held it above the card reader to open the car. The keys are in the glove compartment and you have to pull them out of the key holder. After this process I checked my mirrors, turned on the radio and pressed the start button.  The Prius has a peculiar start you just get used to.  The car starts silently, after you press the brake, press start and then move the shifter to drive or reverse. The park is a button you press to engage.  Sometimes if you do not start the car correctly you have to put the car in park and try again. After moving beyond this series of steps the car silently moves along.

I did my errands, which used the entirety of the space in the car to pack up my room. The car is very roomy and can hold 5 to 6 suitcases and a few boxes of varying sizes. In fact, the seats lay completely down for oversized items. It easily stows a bike and other items while still leaving room for another passenger in the front. After running some of my errands around the city I realized I needed an extra 45 minutes for my reservation. I took out my phone opened the reservation email which directed me to my Carshare reservation. I was able to easily pick the time I wanted to extend to, the car was available, and my extension was granted. I returned the car on time and parked it in its dedicated spot outside of the Union. I put the keys back in the key holder, and locked the door with my card. This ends the reservations and records when you return the car.

All in all it was a great experience. I didn’t have to think about gas or insurance, as they are included in the program. If you need a car for a few errands or to move a few or a lot of things the cars are of moderate size and the price is great at 7.50-9.50/hr.

Learn more about the program here.

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NAU Wins Big at Arizona Forward’s 35th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards

EV JL Awards

On September 12 in Phoenix Arizona, NAU’s Office of Sustainability and NAU’s Green Fund was recognized for submitting the Solar Thermal Hot Air Technology which won Arizona Forward’s award for Energy and Technology Innovation. They also took home the Award of Merit for the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future for installing the technology on campus.

In January, 2015 NAU installed the first known multi-panel solar thermal hot air system on a university’s campus in the nation. See original blog post:

NAU’s Office of Sustainability was attracted to the new technology because although there are many available renewable energy options like solar PV and wind that can reduce net electrical use, there are not many options for directly reducing fossil-based heating (natural gas). Recognizing that heat and hot water comprise nearly half the energy demand in the country, the opportunity for cost effective solar thermal technology is massive.

The technology was discussed at the Environmental Caucus’ Energy Action Team and was then submitted as a proposal to NAU’s Green Fund. The Green Fund committee (predominately comprised of students) was excited about this project because it will pay for itself in a small fraction of the time. The Green Fund chooses projects it thinks will reduce NAU’s carbon footprint and innovative projects that will prove the effectiveness of new technologies to the university and the world. This solar thermal air heating installation (purchased through SolarThermiX) is helping to achieve both these goals. Another top criteria the Green Fund evaluates is “visibility.” “Because NAU strives to be a Living Laboratory, we’re excited that this project is available to all our students, particularly engineering students, for monitoring and class projects” says Jessica Lazor, Climate Science and Solutions (CSS) graduate student and chair of the Green Fund. The technology has already been evaluated by a CCS student and SolarThermiX will be donating more panels to NAU for engineering research this fall.

“NAU is particularly proud of this installation because through this contribution of proving the quality and efficiency of this technology we hope to demonstrate a solution to over 18,000 off-grid Native American homes in Northern AZ that face heat insecurity,” states Ellen Vaughan, manager of NAU’s Office of Sustainability.

There is a crisis in providing heat for reservation elders and this technology could dramatically help stretch the limited propane budgets and/or scarcity of wood for heat.

Simply, solar thermal hot air technology has the potential to do for fossil-based heating what PV has done for electrical energy; albeit with more compelling economic and environmental justification.

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