Solar Thermal Heating Systems in the Berkeley Student Cooperative
Project Leads: Hannah Stone
Sponsor: Berkeley Student Cooperative
TGIF Grant: $35,000.00
Project Theme: Energy Conservation; Environmental Justice
Project Description: The Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC) intends to install solar thermal heating systems in two of its housing properties: the African-American Theme House and Oscar Wilde, its LGBTQIA & Queer Theme House. The BSC celebrated its 85th anniversary last October and remains a cornerstone of student housing. 20 properties near the UC Berkeley campus provide low-cost, cooperative housing to over 1300 university students. In Oscar Wilde, solar thermal heating systems will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas by 10,473 lbs annually, or 40.6% of their annual use last year. In Afro House, solar thermal heating systems will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6,521 lbs annually, or 23.8% of their annual use last year. Ongoing sustainability education in conjunction with these energy efficiency infrastructure installations will further reduce the BSC’s collective carbon footprint, and can provide an example for other campus housing. This project is a long term investment in green energy and community well-being for generations of co-op students. The TGIF funds will cover the contract cost of the solar thermal heating system installation in Oscar Wilde. This includes equipment, labor, and permitting. Upon receiving rebates through the California Solar Initiative, the contract cost of the installation in Afro House will also be covered. Construction work will begin and be completed in summer 2019 for about two months. Education will continue throughout 2019-20 academic year with at least 1 event per semester. Sustainability education will be institutionalized in the Sustainability Coordinator job position and hopefully within Afro House and Wilde.
Goals: 1) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
2) Reduce energy costs for BSC members in order to maintain affordable housing for students from traditionally marginalized communities
3) Empower students from the BSC’s African-American and LGBTQIA + Queer communities to engage with solar energy as an important part of their house
4) Promote energy conservation within the BSC.