Archive for October, 2017

#FLGTreeTag Project Raises Awareness About Varied Benefits of Trees

NAU’s Tree Campus Advisory Committee and the City of Flagstaff’s Open Space Program and  have partnered for the #FLGTreeTags project, an educational installation aimed at raising awareness about the many values urban trees provide to our community. This installation will run from Oct. 9 – 16, 2017 and include 23 price tags in Wheeler Park and NAU’s North Quad that will describe the financial contributions these trees provide as a result of their various ecosystem services and health benefits.

Trent DeBeare, a Forestry graduate student and member of NAU’s Tree Campus Advisory Committee is excited about the project, “NAU already has such a well-regarded forestry tradition. The Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation represents the next chapter in that tradition, and the Tree City designation shows that the Flagstaff community appreciates the role forestry plays in shaping our culture and environmental stewardship.”

Forestry student Michael Daugherty and Sustainable Communities student Laurel Westendorf place tree tags up on N. Quad.



In addition to purifying our air and water, trees provide valuable wildlife habitat, sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and provide important human health benefits in terms of reducing stress and increasing creativity.

Betsy Emery, Open Space Specialist with the City of Flagstaff, expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “…these types of projects are great opportunities to enhance the public’s understanding of the many benefits natural resources provide to our community. Flagstaff is surrounded by incredible natural landscapes, but our quality of life is also greatly enhanced by the natural resources available within our City limits, including our urban trees.”

Follow our Facebook pages @FlagstaffOpenSpace and @GreenNAU for more detailed information about these benefits and updates about the project. Don’t forget to share your #FLGTreeTag photos and posts with us on social media.Learn more about the benefits neighborhood trees provide by using the National Tree Benefit Calculator at

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GMO’s – Where Do You Stand?

Genetically modified organisms are a popular environmental topic, but many people are on the fence of how to feel about them. Are GMO’s bad for the planet, or are they the solution to our food- related problems? With World Food Day coming up this month, Green NAU decided now would be an excellent time to showcase this important issue. In order to help people figure out their stance, 2 of this year’s 4 Better World Film Series events will be dedicated to GMO-related films. Later in the month, the Green Jacks will be hosting a community debate about GMO’s. By learning about both sides, our hope is to promote a more thorough understanding of genetic engineering and the way it impacts our food systems. If you’re interested in joining us on this educational journey, check out all three of our GMO focused events:

Oct 4: Food Evolution // 6:00pm // NAU International Pavilion

Oct 11: GMO OMG // 6:00pm // NAU International Pavilion

Oct 23: GMO Community Debate // 6:00pm // NAU International Pavilion

Make sure to check out the rest of the Better World Film Series, happening through the rest of October!



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NAU Wins Award of Merit at Arizona Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards!

At Arizona Forward’s 37th Environmental Excellence Awards NAU presented education awards and received the Award of Merit in the category of Innovation.

President Cheng presenting at the ceremony.

President Cheng presenting the NAU Environmental Education & Communications (Public & Private Sectors) to the Recyclery project at the i.d.e.a. Museum.

NAU sponsored two education/communication awards, one for the public and private sectors and one for educators, students, and nonprofits. President Cheng presented the awards, highlighting the importance of providing recognition for innovative and successful projects in this field.

To compete in the awards, NAU’s Office of Sustainability partnered with a graduate student in the Climate Science and Solutions program and the Green Fund to install an innovative Phase Change Material in the Blome building.

All of these groups are constantly looking for innovative ways to help the university move towards a clean energy future. Multiple classes have assessed the potential for reducing campus emissions and all of their analysis has come to the same conclusion: We have multiple options for cleaning up our electrical load (like solar and wind) but not as many viable options for reducing our natural gas heating demands.

Sitting at 7,000 feet at the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff has a huge heating load! People across the nation are always surprised to hear how cold we get here in Arizona, especially because our desert like environment gets warm during the day and cooler during the night, particularly during one of our 266 days of sunshine. The students poised to themselves a very difficult question: How can we utilize the heat of the day to offset the cold at night or utilize the night’s cold to cool the heat of the day. After extensive research into energy and heat storing technologies, Green NAU was ecstatic to find an innovative technology that economically met this challenge.

Infinite-R is a toxic free, non-flammable, easy to install, and economical, energy storage phase change material (PCM) that has demonstrated¹ dramatic energy savings in buildings (up to 50%). By absorbing excess daytime heat and radiating that energy in the evening, combined with the ability to perform the opposite cycle in warmer climes, peak temperatures can be eliminated and dramatically reduce the load on existing HVAC systems. More specifically, projected results include: 1) Optimize the benefit of solar gain 2) smooth out fluctuations in internal temperatures to increase occupant comfort 3) reduce heating energy by 25% or more 4) reduce energy for cooling by 50%, or even eliminate need for AC 5) delay peak temperatures in offices and classrooms until occupants have left 6) help adapt buildings for climate change.



My office is in one of the oldest buildings on the NAU campus and does not actually have heat. Before the PCM installation, my office was an ice chest and I was dependent on an electric space heater to be able to work.  Following the install, my office is now a consistent 72 degrees, benefiting from sun capture in the morning and steady all day!

Sheila Margaret Anders
Director, Center for International Education
Blome Building, NAU



Those skilled in the metrics of renewable energy payback will understand the attraction to a technology which can be fully installed for less than $0.12 per watt of automatic, zero maintenance energy absorption/radiation with paybacks in the 2-4 year time-frame.

The ease and economics of retrofitting this temperature balancing technology into existing buildings looks to be a game changer for reducing fossil energy use and associated GHG emissions for NAU and all universities across the country.

At last year’s awards, the Green Fund sponsored Solar Hot Air Heaters on the new Engineering Laboratory won the Crescordia award for Innovation.


(1) NREL and US Military studies available upon request

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