Sustainable UofL

Commitment to a Sustainable Future. It's Happening Here.

What’s better than a UofL Parking Permit?

IMG_5221Instead of sinking another $100-$620 into renewing a parking permit, why not try a cheaper, healthier, less-polluting way? This year, try these commute options:

  1. Ride any TARC bus in the entire system free! Just hop on board and flash the driver your UofL ID.
  2. Carpool: Find & offer rides with Cardinal Directions, Louisville’s free online trip-planning tool, which shows ALL of your transportation options on one map; calculates relative emissions, costs, and calories burned; and allows you to connect with others to share rides.
  3. Borrow wheels from on-campus whenever you need them with:
    a) UofL BikeShare – offering free daily bike & lock check-out from all campus housing and gym locations;
    b) UofL Car-Share – offering fuel-efficient cars parked on campus for you to reserve when needed, with a special Fall’17 promo – join by 12/31 for only $1 and drive for just $5/hour (including gas, insurance, and roadside assistance); or
    IMG_4669c) LouVelo bikeshare – the new citywide system with 300+ bikes at 27 kiosks (including stations at Belknap Campus at Brook St & Cardinal Blvd and across HSC downtown). For a limited time, LouVelo is offering any UofL student or employee half-priced monthly memberships for just $7.50 by using the gift code CARDBIKE. Monthly membership gives you free access to any bike in the system for up to an hour. If you want to ride longer, simply check the bike in and out of any kiosk and keep pedaling, or ride anywhere you want for over an hour and sustainabilitypay by the hour.

Never waste time in traffic or hunting for parking again!

Sustainability on Tap!

UofL Gets Back to the Tap

UofL’s Sustainability Council and the publicly-owned, award-winning Louisville Water Company are collaborating to educate students, faculty & staff on the value of getting #backtothetap with events, guest lectures, and those informative signs you’ve seen above our water filling station around campus (like at the SRC, SAC, Strickler, College of Business, and Ekstrom Library). #puretapcards

Do you know where our drinking water comes from? Do you know what it takes to pump and treat that water to get it to you? Do you know why Louisville tap is safer, cheaper, and waaaaaay better for the planet than bottled water?

Just as a teaser, consider the economic value to getting back to the tap. Filling a glass 60 times with Louisville’s tap water costs just a penny. Consuming the recommended eight glasses of water a day from the tap costs around 50 cents a year, compared to $1,500 for buying bottled water.

Explore the political & global concerns around water and the local success story. Louisville Water’s story of science & public health can bring real-world examples to your classroom, lab, or club this semester. The Louisville Water Company will glady provide staff for guest lectures or offer tours.

Contact Louisville Water Co.’s Kelley Dearing Smith to arrange a tour or guest lecture: or 502.569.3695

Ekstrom Library Sign

Urban Planning Students’ ideas to improve Louisville

University of Louisville urban planning grad students took a look at ways Louisville could improve its sustainability score by better matching public transportation to jobs and housing and improving walkability and infrastructure.

Source: Urban Planning Students’ ideas to improve Louisville (WHAS-TV Great Day Live, July 31, 2017)

UofL’s very first Master of Sustainability!

Congratulations to UofL’s very first Master in Sustainability degree recipient, Betsy Ruhe!

Betsy Ruhe 2016 (UofL's 1st Masters in Sustainability student).pngEarlier today, Betsy successfully defended her Masters Thesis: “An Assessment of Sustainability in Jefferson County Public Schools (Kentucky).”

Learn more about Betsy and her research here:
Sustainability graduate student hopes to instill curriculum at elementary school level (University of Louisville Magazine, Winter-Spring 2017, p. 43)

Could you be next?!?! Learn more about UofL’s degree programs in Sustainability, including our brand new Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability starting this fall at

GE Appliances & UofL partner on ‘cool’ project

GE enlisted UofL to help develop controls systems for a new compressor that will make its refrigerators more energy efficient.
GE enlisted UofL to help develop controls systems for a new compressor that will make its refrigerators more energy efficient.

The innovation team at GE Appliances, a Haier company, and the University of Louisville recently partnered on a ‘cool’ refrigerator project.

The Kentucky-based home appliances manufacturer enlisted UofL to help develop controls systems for a new compressor that will make its refrigerators more energy efficient. The controls system would allow the compressor to take measurements and optimize automatically.

“They’ve (UofL) been instrumental into the controls side of that project,” said Senior Compressor Engineer, Greg Hahn. “It helps us get an edge on intellectual property, so we’ve got more access to deeper knowledge of controls and cutting-edge techniques.”

UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering associate professor, Dr. Micheal McIntyre, and his graduate student, Joe Latham, have worked with GE Appliances on the project since its inception in 2012.

“It’ll help their refrigerator products to use less energy,” McIntyre said. That forward-thinking will help the company “stay in the marketplace when energy standards become more challenging and difficult to meet.”

This new technology is expected to help the refrigerators use 10 to 15 percent less energy, saving customers money.

This isn’t the first time GE Appliances and UofL have worked together. The former hosts UofL students for hands-on learning co-ops, and the latter has helped GE Appliances solve problems and create new products.

One notable example is FirstBuild, a maker space and microfactory on UofL’s Belknap campus, where GE Appliances has used open innovation to create new products such as the Opal Nugget Ice Maker and Paragon Induction Cooktop.

“They (UofL) have quite a few ideas to help us out as a company,” said Power Electronics Engineer, Srujan Kusumba. “Not just that, but the way of thinking helps us to explore more ideas and also learn new things.”

McIntyre said UofL also learns new things when it partners with industry — and it gives students a chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom on real-world problems.

“The value of this is really incalculable,” Latham said. “It’s been great getting to bridge between the academic and industrial world.”

Source: GE Appliances & UofL partner on ‘cool’ project (UofL News, July 26, 2017)

UofL’s Conn Center promises renewable energy future for coal country

The Conn Center’s renewable energy camp was held in partnership with the federal Promise Zone, an area comprised of Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley counties.

They arrived at the University of Louisville with a truth they had known all their lives: Coal is not only a source of energy, it puts food in their mouths and clothes on their backs. And it is going away.

A week later, on their last day of a summer camp where they learned the basics of renewable energy, these same students left with a spark of something new for the future.

High school students from Kentucky’s “Promise Zone” talk about building rechargeable lithium ion batteries during a UofL summer camp on renewable energy. LtoR: Christopher Hobbs, of Bell Co.; Devyn Shoemaker, of Harlan Co.; Grecia Lasley, of Bell Co.; and Peyton Mills, of Knox Co.

About 30 high school students from eastern Kentucky’s “Promise Zone” on July 21 concluded the research camp at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. Their presentations on subjects like solar energy and lithium ion batteries seemed to surprise even themselves.

“I came here knowing I wanted to be an engineer,” said Hayley Fulton, 14, who will be sophomore at Letcher County Central High school this fall. “I was clueless and now I know all this stuff and I’m just like, ‘Wow.’”

The camp at the center, which is part of UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering, was in partnership with the federal Promise Zone, an area comprised of Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley counties. Its goal is to improve the overall quality of life in the 3,071-square-mile region. The white lab coats some students wore bore the saying “It’s a Promise” on the back.

“Solar energy is very important because nowadays we rely on a lot of non-renewable energy sources,” said Kaden Gray, 16, a junior at Lynn Camp High School in Knox County. “By utilizing solar energy, we can not only fix the problem, but bring back a lot of lost jobs to our areas. All these labs, the amount of stuff we learned that had to do with what I thought to be a simple concept, really blew my mind.”

The camp was designed to broaden interest in STEM careers, and many students said they are looking at careers in engineering, medicine, nursing and marine biology.

Asher Terry, 14, a Letcher County Central sophomore, said he wanted to learn more about STEM careers even though he’s an aspiring lawyer.

“I learned about solar cells and how they work,” he said. “I learned that coal isn’t all that because it’ll run out one day and we need some kind of renewable energy.”

The students said the importance of teamwork and respect were added lessons. They also made some good friends along the way.

“Today is going to be very hard for me because half these kids I probably will never have the chance to meet or see again,” said Gracie Moles, 14, a sophomore at Middlesboro High School.

The students spent the week on Belknap Campus in a dormitory, and in between labs they saw the sights of Louisville, such as the Slugger Museum and the Speed Art Museum. Interim UofL President Greg Postel and Interim Speed School Dean Gail DePuy met with them Friday and answered questions about scholarships, honors classes, tuition and housing.

Kentucky’s Promise Zone was designated in 2014 as the first rural Promise Zone in the nation. There are 21 other Promise Zone communities nationwide.

Check out more from the camp in the video below:

Source: Conn Center promises renewable energy future for coal country (UofL News, July 24, 2017)

UofL Helps To Address Polluted Runoff From Metro Impound Lot

Thanks to our own Russ Barnett (of the UofL Sustainability Council and KY Institute for the Environment & Sustainable Development) for contributing to this important work to clean-up a real stain on our city’s record of stewardship and protecting water quality!

Louisville Metro Police Impoundment Lot at Beargrass CreekCheck out the full article:

Louisvillians Renew Push To Address Polluted Runoff From Metro Impound Lot (WFPL, July 11, 2017)

Water Conservation Saves Money, Energy & Resources

Louisville Water Company - Crescent Hill Reservoir
As we move into the summertime period of heat and drought, we are reminded of the importance of conserving water on campus and at home. Simple steps to conserve water include:

  • Not watering lawns & gardens in the middle of the day (do it early morning or in the evening);Home Rain Barrels (Mog)
  • Checking soil moisture to make sure irrigation is actually needed before opening the tap;
  • Adjusting irrigation sprinklers to ensure water is not spraying on sidewalks and pavements;
  • Not using your hose to do the work of a broom or rake;
  • Shutting the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing dishes;
  • Taking shorter showers and avoiding water-hogging baths;
  • Installing rain barrels and using them for outdoor cleaning and watering; and
  • Immediately reporting leaky valves and pipes at UofL to Physical Plant for repair. Report Leaks to Physical Plant at 852-6241 or online.

Keep in mind, too, that your efforts to conserve water will also help reduce utility bills and the use of energy and chemicals needed to pump & treat water.

More Ways To Save.

Pesto Time! …& Pollinators, too!

It’s pesto time!! The basil is abundant in UofL’s Garden Commons! Come by and enjoy some…and when you do, take a moment to pluck off the seed heads that are starting to form as the plant begins to bolt. (Caution: This will make your fingers smell delicious!! 🙂 These are great for saving seed for next year, but at this time of year, we want the plants to put more energy into making leaves instead of flowers and seeds.

Thanks to everyone who came out to today’s UofL Garden Commons workday! Please join us again next Monday (and every Monday) at noon. The garden is looking great with many things ready to harvest (leeks, beets, basil & many herbs, and a few of the peaches, peppers, and tomatoes), and many more well on their way (next week should be peak for peaches, tomatoes & peppers will continue to ripen, and eggplant and watermelon still have a few weeks to go). Next week, we’ll plant the very last raised bed with green beans!

Things are looking very pollinator-friendly…and delicious over at UofL’s Urban & Public Affairs garden (426 W Bloom St), too! The maypop (N.American passion fruit) flowers are stunning right now and the fruits are just starting to swell up. Tomatoes are also ripening and there’s some of the most beautiful kale and flowers I’ve seen! Recent storms have also knocked down some of the first apples of the season, so check around in the undergrowth beneath the big apple tree for early pie-makings!!

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