If you have class in the College of Business building, you may have seen a new table put in front of the building. That table is a solar-powered charging station for your electronic devices. Along with the help of Millstream and First Solar, Director of Physical Plant Orion Jones is excited to bring more economically-sound options to campus.
“I’m a huge supporter of anything having to do with renewable energy or to make us efficient or sustainable and utilizing a lower carbon footprint,” said Jones. “Anywhere we can provide a place for students to charge their cell phones, enjoy the outside [we will].”
This project was started by University Advancement, First Solar, and Millstream in Late March, then Jones was made aware of the idea of bringing the charging station to campus. He is hopeful that this project can help kickstart the campus to become even more sustainable because he believes not enough is being done at UF.
“I’m starting from square one, stage one here. So, it’s not like we were doing anything here at the university in regards to sustainability,” said Jones. “We barely recycle, we don’t have any solar [power], except for one house. Its [sustainability] hasn’t been a commitment as a whole from the university.”
We are all well aware of how erratic Ohio weather can be and stuff like hail can ruin fixtures like the charging station. Fortunately for students, Jones assures that weather will not impact the stations as they are weatherproof. He is happy First Solar is the provider because he believes they make a very quality product.
“First Solar is a very reputable company. These are the same panels they would put in any field or roof” said Jones. It’s [the panels on the station] as strong as any other outdoor solar panel they [First Solar] put out.”
Aside from recycling, a potential laydown yard, and these stations, Jones wants to make the University of Findlay independent in regards to production of power.
“I want us to produce our own power. The more sustainable that we can become, the more independent function we can become as what I call a city. I look at the University of Findlay as a small city, and how can we produce our own power,” said Jones. “All levels of energy consumption, energy production, energy purchasing can be more sustainable.”
Jones’s ultimate goal is to make the University of Findlay net-zero in emissions. While that it is a very large goal, he is confident and believes that he can make that happen.
“It really boils down to what the commitment is for long-term, what the overall long-term goal of the university is,” said Jones. “If that’s the commitment of the university at all levels, then it is absolutely is attainable.”