A mechanical and environmental engineer who has managed projects for the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture will become the new director for West Virginia Universityssustainability and conservation efforts.
As the sustainability director for WVU , Clement Solomon will oversee the development of strategic planning for all aspects of sustainability at the University.
Solomon, a WVU employee for more than a decade, formerly served as a projects director with the National Research Center for Coal and Energy, where he managed research and service projects in conjunction with the University and several federal agencies.
The newly created position of sustainability director demonstrates the Universitys commitment to increasing the efforts to conserve natural resources and increase Earth-friendly practices,said Joe Fisher, associate vice president of facilities and services.With Clements background and experience, he will be an important leader in defining and prioritizing our plans to better allocate our resources and continue to be an environmentally responsible organization.
The University has already taken a lot of positive steps and should be seen as a leader and catalyst for change in the state,Solomon said.We are currently taking a big picture view of campuswide sustainability to clearly understand the current realities. Im excited to be a part of pulling all of these important efforts together and developing an all-encompassing program.
In his new role, Solomon will develop the Universitys blueprint for sustainable practices by combining current programs with emerging options.
Current efforts at WVU include a recycling service for aluminum cans, plastic bottles and paper in all of the University buildings and facilities; development ofgreenbuilding features in new and existing construction projects; and millions of dollars invested in energy and water conservation. In addition to expanding those efforts, Solomon would like to develop programs to address parking and transportation issues, operational practices and environmentally preferable procurementorgreen purchasing,the practice of selecting environmentally friendly products and services.
He feels that sustainability efforts should not just be seen as a feel-good environmental activity, but viewed as a smart business practice.
I prefer sustainability over the word �€~greenwhen describing these activities because there is an economic advantage resulting from these practices,he said.In addition to reducing the consumption of natural resources and cutting back on emissions, there is an economic reward, and the dollars that are saved at an institutional level can be significant and reinvested for other purposes.
An example of that approach is the multiyear energy performance contract announced by the University in December. Under the second phase of the plan, WVU will invest $12.5 million in equipment retrofitting, automation and weatherization that will significantly reduce the amount of energy and water consumed. The savings in utility costs over the years will pay for the upgrades and provide additional savings for the University.
Solomon feels that a large part of his planning efforts will be to strike a balance between environmental goals and realistic parameters.
The opportunities for environmental actions are unlimited, but we cant just throw up windmills everywhere and consider the work done,he said.We have to continue to develop a culture of collaboration and individual stewardship and consider the pragmatic boundaries. By building coalitions and developing mutually beneficial goals, we can take steps toward continual improvements.
Solomon received masters degrees in mechanical engineering and environmental engineering from WVU , and he is currently working on his doctorate in resource management at the University. He also has ISO 14001 certification for environmental management systems.