The Office of Sustainability Presents First-Ever Green Office Awards
The Office of Sustainability recently held its first-ever Green Office Awards. The inaugural event served to officially certify and honor university offices involved with the Green Office Program, which is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability.
The first-ever cohort to obtain Green Office certification included the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life (Silver), University Career Services (Silver), multiple offices from Campus Recreation (Bronze), and Cullen Performance Hall (Bronze).
Sustainability in the news
New Catalyst Efficiently Produces Hydrogen from Seawater
Seawater is one of the most abundant resources on earth, offering promise both as a source of hydrogen - desirable as a source of clean energy - and of drinking water in arid climates. But even as water-splitting technologies capable of producing hydrogen from freshwater have become more effective, seawater has remained a challenge.
Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a significant breakthrough with a new oxygen evolution reaction catalyst that, combined with a hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst, achieved current densities capable of supporting industrial demands while requiring relatively low voltage to start seawater electrolysis.
New Hybrid Device Can Both Capture and Store Solar Energy
Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new device that can both efficiently capture solar energy and store it until it is needed, offering promise for applications ranging from power generation to distillation and desalination.
Unlike solar panels and solar cells, which rely on photovoltaic technology for the direct generation of electricity, the hybrid device captures heat from the sun and stores it as thermal energy. It addresses some of the issues that have stalled wider-scale adoption of solar power, suggesting an avenue for using solar energy around-the-clock, despite limited sunlight hours, cloudy days and other constraints.
Global Climate Change Concerns for Africa's Lake Victoria
Global climate change could cause Africa's Lake Victoria, the world's largest tropical lake and source of the Nile River, to dry up in the next 500 years, according to new findings from a team of researchers led by the University of Houston. Even more imminent, the White Nile - one of the two main tributaries of the Nile - could lose its source waters in just a decade.
Using ancient sediment from outcrops along the edge of the lake, Emily Beverly, assistant professor of sedimentary geology at the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, along with researchers at Baylor University, generated a water-budget model to see how Lake Victoria's levels respond to changes in evaporation, temperature, rainfall and solar energy. Their findings, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, indicate a rapid lake level decline was very possible tens of thousands of years ago and could happen again in the future.
A Study of Saturn's Largest Moon May Offer Insights for Earth
Scientists studying the weather and climate of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have reported a significant seasonal variation in its energy budget - that is the amount of solar energy absorbed by the celestial body and the thermal energy it emits.
The findings, reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, could lead to new insights about climate on Earth.