The Oberlin Review

REC Reinvestment Upholds Oberlin’s Commitment to Sustainability

Editorial Board

November 20, 2015

The most pressing issue facing newly-elected City Council members is the allocation of Renewable Energy Certificates, a benefit of Oberlin’s EPA Green Power Partnership. RECs were originally intended to be reinvested in renewable energy and carbon reduction initiatives for communities to expand their green energy portfolio and abandon fossil fuels as energy sources. In 2007, the city decided to sell RECs to expand sustainable initiatives as part of its involvement with the Clinton Climate Initiative. According to the minutes from the Oct. 19 Council Work Session, City Council expects 2015 REC proceeds to total $776,000, bringing the full sum to $1.76 million. By the end of the 2016 calendar year, the projected net total o...

Council Delays REC Discussion Until Late December

Oliver Bok and Tyler Sloan

November 20, 2015

Oberlin’s City Council decided to table the issue of how to allocate $800,000 in Renewable Energy Credits until late December following weeks of tense debate. At Council’s weekly meeting on Monday, City Council President Scott Broadwell suggested that the group reconvene on the issue during a work session on Dec. 21. Council members are debating three options for how to spend the RECs. The first option would return 85 percent of the sales to the Sustainable Reserve Fund and 15 percent to ratepayers. Conversely, Council could decide to give 85 percent of the sales to ratepayers and the remainder to the Sustainable Reserve Fund. The third option puts the onus on ratepayers to decide whether to give the money to...

Planning Commission Sides Against Green Acres

Hannah Jackel-Dewhurst

March 13, 2015

Opposition from Oberlin residents and members of the Oberlin Planning Commission has called the future of the Green Acres Project into question. The Green Acres Project is a proposed mixed-income housing development located on 15 acres of land that have been vacant for a decade between East Lorain Street and East College Street. Community Builders, a nonprofit development company, has designed a plan for the project; however, the plan has generated controversy, and the Oberlin Planning Commission voted not to approve the request for rezoning this past Wednesday. The Green Acres Project is now on the City Council’s agenda for its April 6 meeting. The Council will vote then on whether or not to abide by the Planning...

For Sustainable Design, New Club Turns to Nature

Dyani Sabin

November 7, 2014

If you want to know how to create more sustainable architecture, you might want to ask the birds and the bees. At least that’s what the members of Oberlin’s first-ever Biomimicry Club, an organization that aims to bring Oberlin toward sustainable living based on designs found in nature, might tell you. According to its founder, College sophomore Olivia Scott, the purpose of biomimicry is essentially to “use nature to solve your problems,” or to base industrial and sustainable designs on those found in nature. “Nature has had 3.8 billion years of evolution, so you’re using that as a design but also as inspiration,” said Scott. Examples of possible biomimetic designs are air conditioners ...

Off the Cuff: Shazeen Attari, expert on the psychology of resource consumption

Maddie Stocker, News Editor

February 28, 2014

Shahzeen Attari, assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, sat down with the Review this week to talk about energy consumption, motivations in social dilemmas, and the paper she will publish on Monday. Attari visited Oberlin to give a talk titled ‘Public Perceptions of Electricity and Water Use.’  How did you become interested in energy policy and efficiency? I actually started off as a Physics and Math major at [University of Illinois at] Urbana-Champaign, and I volunteered for nature conservancy one spring break as an undergrad, and I realized that [there were] many interesting questions about the environment. I actually grew up in the Mid...

The Oberlin Project: How sustainability education might transform a community

Elizabeth Dobbins, Staff Writer

September 21, 2012

This article is the first in a three-part series on the impact of the Oberlin Project. Down an ash road north of the athletic fields and tucked away in a grove of trees lies a 10-acre clearing filled with a forest of evenly-spaced, upright metal poles and the din of construction. It is the future site of a new super-sized, on-campus solar array¬ — one of many initiatives the Oberlin Project has had a hand in organizing. For the seemingly indefinable Oberlin Project this solar array appears unusually concrete, but the Oberlin Project is not as nebulous as general perception may lead one to believe. It’s just complex. “What the Project is really doing is providing a sort of larger vision and way of having a...

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