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Energy Home Tips for Fall & Winter

October 31st, 2014 by andreamoore

greentipsimageWhile it’s important to practice conserving energy in the office it is just as important to consider these practices at home. Consider these 9 energy tips to help lower your energy bills and keep you comfortable at home this fall and winter.

1.    Swap Incandescents & CFLs for LEDs

Consider swapping out incandescents and CFL bulbs for LEDs. They are 90% more efficient, contain no harmful gases and can last up to 20 years! Ikea has some of inexpensive options.

2.    Unplug Devices

Consider unplugging chargers, adapters and small appliances. Phantom energy is the electricity that electronics pull from the outlet while plugged in, and can waste as much as 10% of your home’s energy.

3.    Clear Vents

Consider moving furniture and large items from blocking vents so air can circulate more freely and improve heating system efficiency by 25%.

Adjust temperature settings

If you are able to, consider adjusting your thermostat to 68 when at home this fall and winter and 60 when you are out. For each degree you adjust the thermostat back, you can have a 1-2% savings on your energy bills.

5.    Turn it off

Consider turning off EVERYTHING before heading out the door. Lights. Computer. TV. You name it!

6.    Manage power settings

Consider changing your power management settings to Energy Saver Mode and get rid of your screen saver. It cuts energy consumption and prolongs the computer’s battery life.

7.     Use your blinds

Use daylight wisely. Keep drapes open during the day to let in the rays and close them at night to keep out drafts.

8.    Change laundry settings

Consider waiting to do laundry until you have a full load and when you do put it on the cold wash (BRIGHT COLOR SETTING). It extends the lifespan and vibrancy of your clothing but it also saves 90% of the energy that would have been used to heat the water.

9.    Turn down the hot water

Heating hot water is the second highest energy expense after general heating. Typically it accounts for about 20% of your utility bill. Consider turning down the thermostat of your water heater, insulating your water heater or limiting your hot water use.

Builder Battles 2014

May 12th, 2014 by andreamoore

Builder Battles 1

By Matt Lubin

Building off the successes of last year’s first “Builder Battles” competition, the Eco Reps and Environmental Society joined together with Stern’s Architecture Club to organize a second “Builder Battles”, and it was just as fun and exciting as the first! This year, we had a panel of highly qualified judges review the artistic creations of seven different groups of students who each worked on building impressive models of famous city landmarks. The catch? Teams could only use materials that were recyclable in NYC. Luckily for them, NYC has been increasing the amount of material that can be sent through the city’s recycling streams, and the teams had lots of fun while they learned exactly what type of ‘trash’ can be recycled. Each team had about two hours to compete for a rather impressive prize: a $200 gift card to amazon!

Our panel of judges spanned the range of what we were looking for in the competition: creativity, sustainability, and architectural impressiveness. The judges included Bonni-Dara Michaels, Collections Curator of the YU Museum, Prof. John Kriskiewicz, architectural historian, and Michael Winkler, YU’s Director of Energy and Sustainability.

The battle was fierce, as judges had to decide between so many impressive models of world city landmarks, from a statue of liberty made mainly of newspaper, to a huge

Builder Battles 3

model of the bull from the Bowling Green downtown, made out of cardboard boxes. Congratulations to the winning team – Adam Kurnick, Elias Atri, Jacob Cherney and Aitan Magence – who built a highly detailed model of the Kotel Wall complex, complete with plastic people and the #1 Egged bus station!

Changing laws and new materials might be confusing with regard to what materials can be recyclable, but we showed that they can be broken down and are actually simple and straightforward. As all the teams got to work on their building, they all ‘got the hang of it’, and left the exciting competition with the knowledge and inspiration to continue recycling wherever they are!

An Eco Rep Project: Reusable Water Bottles!

May 12th, 2014 by andreamoore

By Rebecca Gross

In all the excitement and public campaigns about the importance of recycling, the other two R’s—reducing and reusing—are often forgotten. Reducing and reusing can be even more significant than recycling in that they eliminate any waste or energy spent in the first place. To that end, a campaign to replace bottled water with water fountains and reusable water bottles was initiated in collaboration with the New York State I Love NY Water Campaign. Laminated signs declaring, “Freefill Stations” were posted on all school water fountains to remind students of the ‘tested, sustainable, and free’ water available to them.

IheartwaterAdditionally, reusable water bottles were distributed during Earth Week. The bottles were an enormous hit, with fifty gone in under ten minutes. The student body was quite excited about the bottles. As one student said, “these bottles, together with the signs posted, will really help reduce my water bottle buying habit!” Stickers declaring “I [heart] NY water” were also distributed, with students taking them and sticking them on phones, backpacks, and their new water bottles. Hopefully, the combination of the signs with the sticker and water bottle distribution will help raise awareness of the importance of reducing and reusing, and decrease the amount of waste put out by Yeshiva University students.

Crime and Consequence: Environmental Ethics at YU

May 12th, 2014 by andreamoore

By Riva Tropp

EthicsRecently, we had the honor of hosting our own esteemed philosophy teacher, Professor Leventer, to talk to us about environmental ethics. Referencing the recent Washington mudslide and West Virginia’s poisoned waters, we discussed the challenges of enacting environmental change on a legislative level. For example, in Washington, deforestation laws were written mainly by lumber-lobbyists with loopholes allowing them to essentially clear-cut the mountain’s forests.

Ethically, Professor Leventer posited, how do you judge the people who wrote these laws? Is killing a person slowly and indirectly better than killing them quickly? He suggested that when judging others, people put too much weight on a motive, and that if people owned up to the consequences of their greedy actions, they might give pause before writing these laws.

On a personal level, Professor Leventer was encouraging. He proposed that even when the result of one’s actions seems miniscule, as in the recycling of one bottle, there are great immediate personal gains. Even to those who don’t believe in global warming, recycling a bottle makes one into a person more likely to recycle, and therefore more virtuous than he would have been otherwise.

Altogether, it was a fascinating evening for all participants!

Wall-E and Eve at YU

April 28th, 2014 by andreamoore

wall eBy Oren Herschander

Before break, The YU Eco Reps hosted a fun event to raise awareness of Earth Week to the greater student population. To kick of a series of exciting and informative Earth Week themed events was a showing of the Oscar winning film, Wall-E. This Pixar production challenges the larger issues of consumerism, environmental degradation and waste-management while cleverly illustrating the immense impact humans have on continuing our world’s sustainability.

This loveable and intelligent film raised several important questions as several students watched the film on the Wilf campus. Between bites of pizza, students saw the brave robot clumsily fight to save the last remaining plant on earth.

Due to human’s wanton disregard for the environment and inaction to stop pollution, Wall-E’s earth became uninhabitable. Hopefully by raising public awareness of pro-environment causes, young people – like the ones at Yeshiva University – will encourage sustainability and positively act towards preventing future environmental collapse.

2014 Einstein Earth Week

April 18th, 2014 by andreamoore


Come join in the Earth Week activities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, April 27th to May 2nd. Find all the details below.

Community Garden Work Day, 1190 Pierce Ave (behind Weiler), 12 a.m. -4 p.m.
In honor of Arbor Day, join Einstein’s BODY club in the beautiful outdoors for a working day planting trees, weeding, building, and more. No RSVP necessary.

Alternative Transportation Day, Forch Lobby, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Visit Zipcar and 511 Rideshare to learn about alternatives for your commute to work or for weekend trips.
Samba Class, Falk Center, 6:30p.m.

Recycling Table, Forch Lobby, All Week
Recycle batteries, light bulbs, printer cartridges, plastic pens, and even clothes.
CERC and Einstein Buddies Activities, “Main Street” Forch, 2:30 p.m. – 5p.m.
Join the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center and Einstein Buddies for some Earth Week Arts & Crafts and Music. Children and their families are invited. Snacks will be provided.

Yoga Class, Falk Center, 5:30p.m.

Swim Class, Falk Center, 5:30p.m.

I Love NY Water Campaign, Forch Lobby, 12 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Learn about how NYC has some of the best tap water in the country. Filtered, tested and free! Free bottles while they last.
Yoga Class, Falk Center, 5:30p.m.

Bike Day, Forch Lobby, All Day
Come pick up some information about bicycle commuting and cycling in NYC. Also, enter a drawing to WIN FREE biking gear and other fun prizes!
Bike Commuter Appreciation Breakfast & Earth Week Information Table, In front of Belfer, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Ride your bike to work and get a free breakfast.
Einstein Bike Ride, Belfer Rack, 5:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Join an Einstein Bike Ride to Orchard Beach and an eatery on City Island. Helmets will be required.

Enjoy a FREE trial gym membership at the Falk Recreation Center!
Come check out the facilities – swim, lift weights, jog, play ball, and MORE!

Recyclemania, Recycling Challenge: Shoot to Win

March 24th, 2014 by andreamoore

By Alan Avitan & David Goldrich

For our Eco Rep Project, we chose to engage students on campus in an awareness event called Recycling Challenge: Shoot to Win.  The project was a way to raise awareness

Calague of Event

about, Recyclemania, the 8 week recycling competition that takes annually between 630+ participating universities in the United States and Canada.  The two goals of the events:

  • to educate the student body on proper recycling (what is and is not recyclable)
  • to encourage students to actively recycle through a motivational activity

We set up a table decked in promotional materials, and awaited students.  When students approached, they were met with a variety of recyclable bottles and materials, and were shown what forms of plastic and cardboard are recyclable under New York City standards.  Similarly, educational materials were available for those who wanted to learn more about the Recyclemania competition or recycling in general in NYC.  To encourage students to participate in recycling, different prizes were offered to those who chose to try the Recycling Challenge.  For the Challenge, participants were given five recyclable plastic water bottles and placed at a free-throw line 15 feet from recycling bins.  They were then asked to shoot the bottles into the bins.  For participation, they received wearable Recyclemania buttons; for sinking at least one shot, participants were given their choice of a wide array of candCalague of Event y and chocolate; for scoring a perfect five for five shooting, participants won a Recyclemania Frisbee (made of recycled plastic materials of course).

The Recycling Challenge was a wild hit.  During the week of tabling on both the Wilf and Beren campuses, hundreds of students took part in the fun activity while simultaneously learning about Yeshiva University’s Office of Energy and Sustainability Recyclemania competition and how best to participate.  Initially intrigued by offers of free candy, many students left the Challenge enthusiastic about recycling and looking to improve efforts in their university.  As one student put it, “I never knew that recycling could be so much fun!”  While only time will tell, we are confident that this project will help Yeshiva improve on last year’s already impressive 2013 rank of 13th out of 200+ schools in the bottles & cans division of Recyclemania.

2014 YU Earth Week, March 31st to April 6th

March 20th, 2014 by andreamoore

paper_153508431Come join in the Earth Week festivities at Yeshiva University. March 31st to April 6th. Find all the details below.

Wall-E Viewing & Pizza, Wilf, Belfer Hall, Rm. 207
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Join YU Eco Reps for Pizza and a Movie, Wall-E, the pixar film critiquing the larger issues of consumerism, environmental degradation, waste management, and discusses the immense impact humans have on the Earth.

Conversation with Prof. Leventer, Stern, 245 Lex, Rm.
7:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
Join YU Eco Reps and Professor Leventer to discuss environmental ethics and how you can do your part to help. Questions being answered: How strong is your ethical obligation to ‘care for the environment’? What are the three most fruitful things you can do to fulfill this obligation?

I Heart NY Water Campaign, Stern, 245 Lex Lobby
10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Join YU’s Eco Reps and learn about how NYC has some of the best tap water in the country. Filtered, Tested and Free! Free bottles while they last.

Builder Battles, Wilf, Belfer, Weissberg Commons
7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Join YU Environmental Society in a recycled materials building competition. Join teams of 4 to 5 students in using recyclable materials such as cardboard, cans, newspaper, plastic, bottles, egg cartons, and whatever else you can think of. Teams will be rated based on creativity, what they have built, and how they have connected their creation to the theme given to them that night. Look out for posters for more information. PRIZES for the WINNING GROUP! Learn more on the Facebook Page.

Green Building Tour, Stern, Meet at Brookdale Lobby
10:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Join YU Eco Reps for a Green Building Tour. Learn about the different features of this Brooklyn green home from a green roof to a natural swimming pool. RSVP on Facebook.

YU Environmental Society Hike, 59th St. Central Park
11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Join YU’s Environmental Society for a tour and walk of the entirety of Central Park. Snacks included. Learn more on the Facebook Page.

Yeshiva University earns Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

February 25th, 2014 by andreamoore

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently recognized YU with a STARS Bronze Rating for its sustainability efforts. This is the most comprehensive sustainability inventory Yeshiva University has done to date which was a yearlong effort involving all 4 of Yeshiva University campuses and required efforts from over 40 Yeshiva students, faculty and staff. The effort was conducted by the Office of Energy & Sustainability with assistance from departments university wide from Human Resources and Engineering to the Provost’s Office.

This is just another achievement since the University opened the Office of Energy & Sustainability in 2008, after President Joel signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), committing to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 with an interim goal of 20% by 2020.

STARS or the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. It uses a model comprising four major areas: Education & Research, Operations and Planning, Administration and Engagement as well as Innovation. These areas are subdivided into a total of 139 sub sections ranging from sustainability related coursework to carpooling.

To learn more about Yeshiva’s sustainability efforts, visit the publicly available report: https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/yeshiva-university-ny/report/2014-02-11/.


An Eco Rep Project: A viewing of the movie ‘Switch’

February 21st, 2014 by andreamoore

By Irene Goldman

switch imageThe film “Switch” was recently shown by YU’s Eco Reps in December as a part of YU Unplugged, the university’s dorm energy competition.  It features Dr. Scott Tinker, a well known geologist who begins by measuring how much energy one person uses and then goes on to explore our current major energy sources and what will replace them in the future.   Energies that will replace oil are biofuels, natural gas, and electricity, whereas energies that will replace coal are solar, wind, natural gas and nuclear.  Energy sources that will likely see the most growth are renewable energy sources, and natural gas will make up the majority of baseload energy.

With about 20 students in attendance, “Switch” was a hit.  As Sophomore Tova Rand puts it “I didn’t realize the impact I can make on the world when I use energy. Now I know that what I do matters too!” This film brought awareness to the students of Yeshiva University through its straightforward nature and meaningful message, and they plan to implement it within their everyday lives. One student said “now that I know how much energy affects my earth, I want to start unplugging my charger when I leave home. Why hurt my planet like that?”