Blogging Theme, week 3

The blogging theme for this week is Penn State Campus.   A brief reminder about blogging requirements: you may post on anything related to the course (the “theme” for the week is only a suggestion), and your postings will be graded according to the rubric that appears in the syllabus,  The rubric involves five grading elements: frequency of posting, mathematical content, thematic content, organization and presentation, references and connections.

It is suggested that you post about some measurement or estimate related to sustainability on the Penn State (UP) campus. Example topics (many more are possible).

  • Waste and recycling – see, and listen and respond to Al Matyasovsky’s presentation on Wednesday.
  • Over the winter break (approx December 24th – January 5th), the Office of Physical Plant “sets back” temperatures in most PSU buildings from their normal 70 degrees (F) to about 50 degrees. How much difference does this make to PSU’s energy consumption?
  • Estimate the environmental impact of a big football game.
  • Learn about the UP campus’ water consumption. Where does our water come from? Is the supply sustainable (define this term how you wish, but make sure you answer the question in terms of your definition). What activities on campus use the most water?
  • Blog about the work of Penn State’s Consortium for Building Energy Innovation at the Philadelphia Navy yard ( What is their goal? How do they plan to achieve it? Is it realistic?
  • Conversion of the PSU steam plant from coal to natural gas. (
  • Estimate how many showers per day are taken on the Penn State campus.   How much energy is used to heat the water for them?
  • Interview some faculty members about their academic travel.   Estimate the number of barrels of oil per year used by faculty academic travel. Are there alternatives?
  • If we covered the roof of a dorm with solar panels, what fraction of that building’s energy needs might they realistically supply?

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