Greenhouse gases (abbreviated to GHG) are gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Due to their ability to trap heat, the Earth’s current average temperature is fixed somewhere in between 13 °C and 15 °C. Without these gases, the temperature of Earth’s surface would be about -18 °C. However, greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, have been emitted in excess since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This has led to a sudden 45% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. This increase in GHG will inevitably bring many problems to Earth’s ecosystem. In order to prevent problems from occurring, many countries are putting in a lot of effort by creating new policies, regulations, and laws to address the increase in GHG.
Recently, CWNU was selected as an exemplary institution in reducing the usage of GHG and fossil fuels in a conference that was headed by the Korean Ministry of Environment. The goal of the conference was to encourage public institutions to curtail the use of non-renewable energy sources. According to a manager of Facilities Division of CWNU, out of 836 different public institutions, 15 institutions were awarded as models of environmental awareness, and CWNU was one of them. CWNU produced outstanding results due to many unseen changes through efforts of different groups: introducing new renewable energy and ‘Green Architecture’, establishing regulations related to energy usage, and improving the environmental awareness of members of the university. The Korean Federal government passes a different ‘Rational Energy Utilization Act’ every year; each year’s act is adjusted to the contemporary situation. It statistically provides reasonable standards for using energy resources, and the Korean government strongly encourages organizations and institutions all over Korea to keep a high standard. Thus, members of the Facilities Division of CWNU go around campus once every month to inspect places that use energy, especially the master control station for air-conditioning and heating. A member of the Facilities Division of CWNU said, “People may not realize it, but energy consumption from air-conditioning and heating takes-up 65% to 70% of total energy consumption within our campus. Though, many programs in the Engineering department conduct numerous experiments that use energy related to their studies.” One of the managers in the Facilities Division emphasized, “The air conditioning and heating system of CWNU is centrally controlled, but sometimes it malfunctions so repetitive check-ups are crucial.” Moreover, CWNU is focusing on increasing energy waste awareness. CWNU encourages students to use the stairs instead of elevators, and reminds professors to turn off multiple-taps and computers in lecture rooms.
Furthermore, there are various renewable energy generators installed on campus. Firstly, solar power generators are installed on top of Dongbaek-gwan, building 55, and at the temporary headquarters. The generators typically generate a decent amount of electricity that is necessary for the buildings. Secondly, the solar thermal generators are installed in Sarim-gwan and every dormitory within campus. The main function of these generators is to create heat that is needed for hot water. Lastly, the geothermal power generators are located in building 35 and in the newly-built Physical Education building. These power generators take advantage of the characteristics of groundwater by maintaining a constant temperature all year. This system acts as a means to provide heating or cooling. Besides the previously mentioned generators, there is ‘Green Architecture’ at CWNU. ‘Green Architecture’ is a new type of building built according to government environmental standards. These building standards come from relatively new regulations, so only newly-built buildings on campus (Headquarters and the Physical Education building) are considered to have ‘Green Architecture’. By looking at all the effort that CWNU has put into being energy conscious, it is clear to see why the university was eligible to win energy conservation awards.
By Kim Young-min, chief editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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