UCSB’s The Green Initiative Fund has selected over a dozen environmentally-minded programs to receive grants for sustainability improvement projects beginning on campus anytime from now to Fall 2010.

The committee received 27 applications from UCSB students, staff and faculty requesting funding for various campus sustainability projects. The 13 projects selected for funding –– tallying to $160,500 in disbursements –– will receive their grant money in July.

Aside from the increase in applicants, Committee Chair Brian Starr said in a press release that the merit of this year’s green projects have also improved considerably.

“Since joining The Green Initiative Fund as its undergraduate representative in 2007, I have seen a tremendous number of high-quality project proposals,” Starr, a fourth-year business economics major, said. “In fact, the overall quality of the projects has consistently increased each year. This year’s selection process was extremely difficult since we felt every proposal would have positively impacted the campus in some way.”

One of the proposals chosen by the committee, the Plastic Water Bottle Reduction Project, calls for a filtered water spigot to be installed in the Arbor to encourage reusable water bottle use on campus. Additionally, the Hatlen Theater Light Emitting Diode Stage Light Project will replace two rows of traditional stage lights with more energy efficient LED stage lights, significantly reducing the electricity and heat that will be generated in the theater.

Campus Sustainability Coordinator Jill Richardson said in an e-mail that she hopes these projects will provide a measurable impact to the campus sustainability efforts through energy, water, waste and emissions reductions.

According to Richardson, past TGIF projects have had a positive impact on the campus community. For instance, a project in Embarcadero Hall which involved replacing traditional 525 watt bulbs with six watt LED lights resulted in a 99 percent drop in energy use per bulb. The innovation also led to a cooler stage temperature for lecturers and performers.

“Individually, these projects make small steps towards overall campus sustainability goals, but collectively they are making a big impact,” Richardson said.

As the first “green” fee in the UC system, the TGIF lock-in fee was implemented in the spring of 2006 after students voted to pay $2.60 per quarter to the UCSB fund. The $182,000 garnered from the measure is used to finance sustainability projects that help reduce UCSB’s impact on the environment.

The committee will begin accepting applications for the 2010-2011 funding cycle in Fall 2010. Anyone with a sustainability project proposal can contact Richardson at (805) 893-8367 or by e-mail at jill.richardson@vcadmin.ucsb.edu.