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March 16th, 2014:

The Main Idea Is

Longwood University’s upgraded biomass heating plant was opened on September 8th 2011.  As a University, Longwood has been burning wood biomass as a heat source for the boilers since the 1980s.  The newest fuel system was implemented to stream line the heating process and become more efficient.  Richard Bratcher, Longwood’s vice president of Facilities and Real Property, has stated that the purpose of the new biomass burner is to continue in the efforts at Longwood to become more sustainable.

Longwood is allowed to burn 34,000 tons of sawdust per year. One ton of wood releases approximately 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide into the air.  This increases campus’ carbon footprint drastically.  The number one cause of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity.  Biomass is not a fossil fuel, but the production of carbon dioxide affects our air in similar ways.  Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.  These types of gases prevent heat and solar energy from being reabsorbed into the atmosphere after they are reflected off of our water bodies, snow, and reflective surfaces.  The greenhouse gases have contributed to the warming of the Earth hat scientists are concerned about.

To continue Longwood University’s green efforts I propose to install a green roof system.  Green roofs are structures that are made of organic plant materials.  Essentially they are rooftop gardens that are enhanced with water collection technologies and drainage systems. Green roofs help insulate the buildings they are built on which helps reduce the heating and air conditioning that would otherwise be needed.

The problem that green roofs would alleviate on Longwood’s campus is the emission of carbon from the burning wood chips that are used to heat campus.  Dorrill Dining Hall would be the most ideal place to construct one of these green roofs because it is very near to the burner rooms where the carbon dioxide would be released from.  Also, the dining hall is made of windows on one side of the upper level which makes it very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, requiring more air-conditioning and heating.

Longwood has moved forward drastically in comparison to other universities in their “green movement” and the improvements are not to go without notice.  A green roof would be only be a step further into developing Longwood into a more green campus than it already is.