Getting Shade for Going Green

By Skyler Mitchell | Staff Writer

Parking in the shade is a rare commodity on campus and very few have the privilege. But certain people are cooking up something – a solution that is eco-friendly.

During a SGA senate meeting on Feb. 24, guest speaker John Croy came to propose a plan that could provide shaded parking and clean energy for Augusta University.

Croy has a background in chemical engineering and adopted this project since he has had previous experience with it.

“I’ve been to places like California and they have these things in many different places,” Croy said, when explaining how he came across the idea for this project.

Croy’s proposal was to build columns that would provide shade to anyone who parks on campus, with the roofs of these being covered in solar panels. He claimed that these panels would be useful for parking as it would help provide shade to the cars and protect them against sunlight and rain.

Croy is hoping that these can be constructed on all AU campuses. According to his calculations, the university may save up to almost $35,000 a year, if they install in each parking lot.

“The solar parking lots will pay for themselves,” he said, while explaining the benefit of installing the solar panels. “But it depends on how long it takes for them to pay for themselves.”

He estimates that in about 10 years or more, the solar panels will have officially payed for themselves.

Croy also argued that the addition of the solar panels would help the reputation of the institution.

“While it isn’t the most important improvement, it might have a chance in convincing students to attend here, or at least boost our reputation,” he said to the senate.

He also claimed it could help unify the campuses if they all had a signature look.

While many in the senate did respond favorably to the proposition, there were a few dissenters in the group. Some cited that there were too many variables to determine the actual cost of construction.  Others were concerned about where the construction would be, thinking that the construction would hurt traffic near the Health Science campus, where a hospital is located.

Some proposed that government bonds or assistance from green companies could remedy the cost, there was still no agreement. There was even some debate on the helpfulness of the project.

“Most students are looking for places to park, they aren’t exactly looking for shade,” said David Peltier, when asked why he did not think the project would work. “There’s also a good chance that when these are finished, we won’t even be here to use them.”

The general agreement was that the project would have to wait, until they gave the idea to a more official power in the university. They proposed to let Croy send out a survey to the entire university in order to get the opinion of the student body.

If anyone has any questions or concerns about the construction or cost of the structures, contact any member within the SGA at Augusta University.

Contact Skyler Mitchell at skmitchell@augusta.edu.

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