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Syracuse game to be sustainable

Aaron Steiner | Friday, November 21, 2008

&uotNotre Dame is bringing a green theme to one of its most treasured traditions – a football Saturday. This weekend’s football game will be the University’s first ever carbon neutral game.

“There are various aspects of the game that produce carbon emissions,” Rachel Novick, education and outreach coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, said. She said things like lighting, fan travel and gameday waste are examples of activities that produce carbon emissions.

This weekend, the Office of Sustainability will make the game carbon neutral by using efficiency projects that reduce carbon emissions to offset the emissions normally produced at a game.

Various projects throughout the year have increased efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, and those reductions will be allocated towards making the game carbon neutral.

Novick cited the student-initiated gameday recycling project as a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions.

“Recycling really saves a lot of energy,” she said. “Probably the most extreme case is that of an aluminum can.”

It takes 95 percent more energy to make a new aluminum can – mining the aluminum and producing it – than it does to create a recycled aluminum can.

“Aluminum cans are a big percentage of the materials that are used at tailgates,” Novick said. “By getting all that into recycling, we’re having a big impact.”

Novick said projects like Sunday evening’s energy audits and light bulb exchange also help to reduce emissions and improve efficiency.

;Thus far we’ve exchanged 4,400 light bulbs in residence halls,” she said. “We did an audit of dorm rooms, and we collected a lot of information about thermostats that don’t work, rooms that overheat, windows that don’t close. The maintenance staff on campus is now going to follow up on those reports.”

Building renovation projects will also improve efficiency, she said.

The concept of a completely green football game was first suggested by NBC, Novick said. NBC has a contract to broadcast all Notre Dame home games.

“They contacted us because they have an annual Green Week where they do all kinds of environmental programming as part of their national broadcasts … so they wanted to highlight some of the sustainability programs at Notre Dame and also Syracuse,” Novick said.

NBC also decided to host a contest on the Web site Carbon Rally.

“The idea is to challenge the two schools to see how many they can get to commit to more eco-friendly lifestyles,” Novick said.

The contest runs until the end of November, and the winning school receives $10,000 to be used for sustainable initiatives.

Novick said the football game broadcast would feature various initiatives on Notre Dame’s campus, including gameday recycling.

In addition, NBC sponsored an ad competition between Notre Dame and Syracuse. Students from both schools submitted 30-second films about sustainability issues, and the winning ad will be featured on the NBC Web site.