Notre Dame’s sixth annual Energy Week has concluded, but the ideas and inspiration generated during the week-long ode to energy live on. Energy Week is organized each year by the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND), and the diversity of programs and level of participation were bigger than ever this year.
While in the past Energy Week focused almost exclusively on the Notre Dame community, this year saw expanded education and outreach into the South Bend community. A Green-Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new hydro-electric turbine in Howard Park coincided with “Mayor’s Day Out”, where Mayor Pete Buttigieg fielded questions pertaining to energy.
Representatives of cSEND as well as the Office of Sustainability, Unity Gardens, Purple Porch Co-op, Memorial Healthworks, and the South Bend Municipal Energy Office were in attendance at a Health and Sustainability Fair held at Innovation Park. The fair served not only as a place for community members to learn more about the ways sustainability can affect their health, but also as an open discussion about what South Bend is doing now in terms of its sustainability efforts, how it matches up to other comparable cities, and opportunities for future growth.
In addition, the Office of Sustainability created a Kill-a-Watt dorm energy competition to coincide with the week. The competition culminated in Howard Hall reducing their energy usage by more than 50%, while across the campus high levels of participation resulted in an average energy savings of 16%.
To cap off the week, Myles Robertson, Intern and Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, led a Community Energy Day tour. “We had a nice mix of Notre Dame and IU South Bend students along with community members,” said Robertson.
The tour began at Union Station where participants boarded a Transpo Trolley. From there they travelled to the Potawatomi Conservatories where they discussed the Green Cloud Proto-type experiment.
The Green Cloud is a partnership between Notre Dame and the City of South Bend, where the heat generated from ND servers is pumped into the greenhouse to reduce heating expenses.
The tour concluded with visits to LEED certified buildings around town and a panel discussion with Jonathon Burke, the South Bend Municipal Energy Directory, Mike Keen, Director of the IUSB Center for a Sustainable Future, and Dr. Seth Brown of cSEND.