A good reason to soak up the sun

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As the sunny days dwindle, college campuses across Utah are finding new ways to soak up the rays.

Solar panels and infrared technologies are popping up everywhere, saving users money on energy bills and furthering conservation efforts. Universities across the state are beginning to see the benefits of these solar power tools.

Weber State University houses many solar panels with the hopes of being eco-friendly and displaying to students their sustainability goals.

“It helps us communicate with students and faculty and staff about what we’re trying to do on campus,” Jacob Cain, sustainability manager of Weber State University, told the Deseret News.

The University of Utah also plans to use solar panels on its campus. Myron Willson, director of Sustainability at the University of Utah, said the university uses systems that renew energy and increase lighting efficiency. Across the campus, teams work together to improve the energy conservation.

“There are Green Teams in about 15-20 departments on campus,” Willson said. “These teams seek to look for ways to internally help with energy conservation, recycling, reducing automobile use, etc.”

BYU campus makes a continual effort in the area of solar energy conservation and campus sustainability. Todd Hollingshead, a BYU spokesman, said not only does the university feel a responsibility toward students’ education, faculty and staff feel a responsibility to the community and environment. He said BYU uses many new methods to improve the campus buildings, including infrared image technology.

“This allows technicians to access images that show where we are losing heat or cool air,” Hollingshead said.

Hollingshead said BYU campus also utilizes building envelope technology. This keeps temperatures regulated by using a membrane on the outside of the building which operates as a special layer.

On Sept. 30, the University of Utah’s campus will hold a “Sustainability Consortium.” Schools within the state will gather to share ideas and learn from each other.

“Most of Utah’s colleges and universities get together two to three times a year to share successes and brainstorm together about how we can do a better job,” Willson said. “There is no competition — only learning from each other about how to make a more livable planet.”

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