May 2012 Archives

Join Bike to Work Week June 9-15

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Join Bike to Work Week 2012 by biking all or part of the way to work at least once during the week of June 9-15! This annual event attracted more than 200 participants last year who cycled over 4,500 miles. Register online for Team University of Chicago.

Bike - Chicago and Lake in Background-getty trans Dirt Blog Post.jpg

The perks of participating:

  • Free pass to shower at Henry Crown the week of June 9 -15. Email Katie if interested in shower pass.
  • Free pizza party for the department with the highest percentage of cyclists. The department with the largest increase in participation from last year will also be recognized, as will one of the newly participating departments with the highest percentage of cyclists.
  • Bike Pit Stop on Tuesday, June 12th, from 6:30am - 9am outside CafĂ© 57 (1520 E. 57th Street)

    • Fuel up with free refreshments, including fruit, breakfast bars, coffee, and ice tea.
    • Free bike tune-ups from Blackstone Bicycle Works.
    • Enter a raffle for the chance to win a one-year Zipcar membership, UChicago bike gear, a month’s supply of Clif Bars, and a free latte art class for you and your friends!
    • Get cycling freebies from the Active Transportation Alliance.
    • We’ll also take a group photo the morning of the Bike Pit Stop—time TBD!Bike Pit Stop photo Op.jpg

Help spread the word about Bike to Work Week by posting this flyer in your department or office building. Please contact Katie with any questions about Bike to Work Week.

SAGE Advice: Good Timing

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Not every kilowatt-hour is made equal. You may see your electric bill and think, “this is the amount of electricity I used, multiplied by the price, and with a few taxes added.” Actually, the true cost of electricity is not that simple. The amount of power you use is very important, but when is also important. Running an appliance at 1 pm is not the same as running it at 9pm. The reason for this is due to the way the power grid works.

  • The power being used and the power being generated must be the same.
  • Most forms of power generation require time to start up.
  • The demand for electricity changes over the course of the year, as well as over the course of the day.

From the above issues, we may notice a few problems. You can’t just produce power thinking it will just be used eventually. At the same time, most of our power does not come from sources you can simply switch on and off. At one extreme, nuclear power is not really turned off, ever. Coal may take approximately 8 hours to fully turn on. Many renewables can’t be used all the time; it might me a cloudy day and the wind may not be blowing.

You can imagine that there is a great deal more electricity used on a summer day than on a winter night. So what do you do? You need to generate extra power for the middle of the day, known as peak demand, when people are working and AC units are on full blast.

So the solution entails much more expensive fuels. The tip of the peak demand for power is generated by burning petroleum fuels. It is a small amount of power but a disproportionally large portion of the emissions related to generating electricity. This means that we need to start thinking about when we use power. Running the washer at 1 PM or 9 PM may use the same amount of power, but the emissions associated are different.


So what can you do?

We won’t propose that you turn the AC off and feel very uncomfortable on the hottest day of the year, but try doing your laundry a little later, maybe run the dishwasher over night, or perhaps turn off your surge protectors. Simply start thinking about which activities can be moved outside the 9AM to 5PM time slot—get creative!

Recycling Ninja

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Guest post by Nate Granatir, SAGE Ambassador and Chicago Booth employee

Over the past year, the SAGE Waste & Recycling Committee has begun several initiatives such as improving recycling signage, rethinking the placement of bins at Hutch, and selling “green” Blue Books at the bookstore. But rather than simply harass people about recycling at Earth Fest 2012, we decided we wanted to do something more fun. What we came up with was a game called “Recycling Ninja,” inspired by Fruit Ninja, with which we’ve wasted many hours on our iPhones.


The game was deceptively simple: armed with a large blue recycling bin (and an optional ninja headband), catch all recyclable items but nothing that can’t be recycled. The fun part was actually ours - we hurled as many items as we could at participants for 30 seconds.


The prize for winning? Well, nothing, except a sticker and admiration for placing in the Top 10. If you’d like to be a Recycling Ninja too, look for us at the upcoming Wellness Fair on Wednesday, May 16th, between 11:30am and 1:00pm on the main quad!