Editorial: Untapped resource on the horizon

Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 1, 2005

With steeply ascending energy prices threatening our nation's stability, it would behoove the UA to support recent proposals to integrate renewable energy into our campus life.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cade Bernsen is lobbying the university administration with a proposal to run an entire building with solar energy by the end of the year, which promises to be both feasible and advantageous for the UA.

The proposal from ASUA, supported by the UA's solar energy club Eclipse would use solar energy to make the Visitors' Center on University Avenue entirely self-sufficient.

The building is ideal for solar energy because it lies beyond the university grounds, and does not enjoy the large energy subsidies that Tucson Electric Power (TEP) provides to all buildings on the main UA campus.

In anticipation of opponents who see sizeable initial costs as too large of an investment after recent tuition hikes, Bernsen has wisely proposed the alternatives of an optional student fee as well as private fundraising.

The ability to continue using fossil fuels allows the university to circumvent certain startup costs, but if it can apply renewable sources of energy at a slightly higher initial cost, only to save in the long run, it is morally obligated and under a gubernatorial executive order to use green technologies on campus.

The administration should follow other institutions that have the long-term well-being of the university in mind and should become part of the growing number of universities that have invested in renewable resources.

Technological leaps have transformed solar energy from the fodder of fourth grade science projects to an economically progressive and earth-friendly source of renewable energy, and the time has come for our university to harness it.

Bernsen and Eclipse surely have many hours of work and research ahead of them and must foster a strong relationship with the UA's Facilities Management in order to develop some notion of the project's cost effectiveness, but honorable causes are always worth the fight.

Opinions Board

Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Caitlin Hall, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield and Tim Runestad.