Author Archives: bessieweisman

Solar & Offshore Wind: Can Renewable Energy Work For Long Island?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

solar and wind

On Monday, April 13th, LIU Post welcomed three renewable energy professionals to present about themselves and their field of work. Following the presentations was a Q&A panel discussion where students and community members got a chance to pick the brains of these renewable energy experts.

The first presentation was given by Stephanie McClellan, the Director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware. Her location of focus is Delaware, but she easily tied in her knowledge of wind power to the region as a whole. McClellen touted offshore wind as having the greatest renewable and carbon-reducing energy source for the entire East Coast. She used Europe as an example of a region in which offshore wind is being successfully utilized and she is hoping to capitalize on the methods of such accomplishments through her position with SIOW.

offshore-wind-turbines

The second presenter was Clinton L. Plummer, Vice President of Development for Deepwater Wind. Plummer eloquently spoke of the projects that Deepwater Wind has been developing, and, most notably, he discussed the company’s wind farm to be located on Block Island. The Block Island Wind Farm will be 30-megawatts, situated approximately three miles southeast of Block Island, and it will have 5 wind turbines in total. Below is a visual of where the project will be located. The power source, as Plummer highlighted, will generate enough energy to provide for 17,000 homes. This project, he thinks, will be especially useful in sparking the public’s interest and trust in the potential of offshore wind. Considering the turbines will be far enough away not to block anyone’s view to the beach, but close enough that people could take a quick boat ride to see them, the project will stand as a solid means to establish offshore wind as a valued form of power to the public.

Deepwater ONE map

Finally, Carlo Lanza finished off the series of presentations with his discussion of solar power. Lanza wears many hats, between being the founding member and leader of Harvest Power LLC, to his role as chairman for the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA) and his efforts in working with PSEG Long Island and policymakers, he is deeply involved in all aspects of his field. Lanza said that he was initially inspired to delve into the discipline of solar energy after he heard the astounding fact that, in one hour, the sun bathes the Earth in more energy than what is used worldwide in a typical year. After hearing this, Lanza became an engineer and later took on a myriad of roles in acting toward promoting solar energy installations and use.

Overall, these renewables professionals gave hope to the students enrolled in the Environmental Sustainability programs at LIU Post, like myself, in the sense that we were reassured of the many diverse employment opportunities in our anticipated field. The panel members also expressed the importance of understanding the relatively novel nature of sustainability and renewable energy. In their experience, they all came from multidimensional educational backgrounds and work hard at the many roles they play to make strides in offshore wind and solar energy. Fundamentally, what unified all of these multifaceted individuals was their enduring passion for their chosen fields that has fostered the success that they each see today.

Do You Know Your Carbon Footprint?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a nifty tool on its website to calculate your household’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is simply a quantification of CO2 emissions from a person, product, or, in the case of this calculator, a home.

I was reluctant at first, because I didn’t want to face how high my household emissions may be, albeit very curious to use this tool. So, I went through the steps of the EPA’s calculator and discovered some useful information about my family’s stats and what we could do to cut our annual CO2 output.

Carbon Calculator 
To really get the most out of this exercise, you need some information that might not come off the top of your head. For example, I researched the average gas mileage of my car in addition to the amount of money spent on electricity and gas in my house per month. For all of these stats, the EPA also gives you figures for the average American household; this was nice because I felt like less of a heathen when comparing my house’s output to the average.

My favorite part about this exercise was looking at the ways that the EPA suggested lowering your emissions. Some of the actions they recommended were simpler and more doable than I expected. Regularly maintaining your car, using cold water to wash your clothes, and utilizing your computer’s power-saving features are easy ways to reduce emissions. Of course, recycling is also one of the most effective and achievable actions your household could (and definitely should) take as well.

Seeing these calculations with EPA’s tool made my household’s CO2 emissions a more tangible concept. I always understood the idea of a carbon footprint, but seeing the numbers and figures on my screen made them digestible. This exercise is something that will use in introductory classes in the future, and no doubt students will be able to benefit from its interactive and constructive nature.

Interested in calculating your household’s carbon footprint, click HERE.

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