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Pull up, plug in

Electric vehicle charging stations 2012Pull up, plug in ... and help reduce air pollution in North Texas.

Six electric vehicle, or EV, charging stations, will greet commuters in parking lots at Wooten Hall, Radio, Television, Film and Performing Arts Building and the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building

All six stations should be operational by the start of the spring 2013 semester, according to the Office of Sustainability.

The idea for the stations was proposed and submitted to the We Mean Green Fund by student Matthew McCallum and staff member Brad Holt, videographer in the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing.

“I'd been planning to buy an EV as my next car for a while, but I was waiting for the technology and infrastructure to grow a bit more,” Holt said. “I was curious if there were any plans in the works to install EV charging stations around campus. I learned that the idea had been tossed around, but no real plans were in the works. It was then that someone told me about the We Mean Green Fund.”

The fund was approved by students in 2010 along with a $5 per student per semester fee for environmental projects. Projects - which may be suggested by faculty, staff and students - also have included recycling bin placement and filtered water systems.

A project summary by the Office of Sustainability, released in April 2012, states that the objective of the charging station project is to promote research and affect behavior change. Researchers will take the information from the current EV market and the infrastructure supporting the electric vehicles to identify models to improve the viability of electric vehicle purchase and use.

Electric vehicle charging stations 2012The installation of EV charging stations helps fulfill the mission of the fund, which is to reduce the amount of waste created on campus and to encourage sustainable behaviors.

The We Mean Green Fund approved additional funding for the station’s infrastructure of power lines and fiber optic cables.

ECOtality, the EV station manufacturer, will provide some funding through a Department of Energy grant. 

ECOtality's Blink Pedestal Chargers, right, allow electric car owners to use a touchscreen to access a 240 volt AC input station. Payment is by mobile phone and credit card.

The charging stations mark the latest in initiatives that has led UNT to a place on The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges for two consecutive years. The projects include:

  • Installation of electricity-generating wind turbines at Apogee Stadium
  • Construction of the LEED-certified   Business Leadership Building and Apogee Stadium
  • Zero Energy Resesarch laboratory
  • The UNT SMART project, which includes energy efficient measures in buildings and infrastructure. The overhaul of the North Chiller Plant is expected to save $3.2 million a year for the next two decades.

The university also was named the Best University Working for Clean Air by the North Texas Commission, a business and civic advocacy group.

-   Buddy Price and Mollie Jamieson, News Promotions

(Photos by Michael Clements)

Posted on: Thu 10 January 2013

Comments

David Meek at 8:43 am on January 11, 2013

As a plug-in hybrid owner

As a plug-in hybrid owner (Volt) I'm glad to see these on campus.  However, the last time I checked there were no signs indicating how these spaces were enforced for campus parking.  The Wooten spaces were pulled from 'A' spots, and the RTFP lot spaces were pulled from 'D' spots.  Does this impact the required parking permit in any way?  Does the user simply have to display any current UNT permit (including student)?  Or can a visitor with an EV and no permit park in one of these spaces and not have to worry about a ticket?

On the handicap spaces, there is additional signage explaining what UNT permit is required to park in that space.  I think it would be a good idea to either have this supporting explanation on these as well, or at least a general statement on the chargers that there is no permit required (if this is the rule).

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