Madison College solar array

Green Fund Interactive Tour

Discover and interact with past Green Fund projects using this self-guided tour. Get inspired. Learn about how you can apply for money to improve the sustainability of campus facilities. Share your adventures using #BadgersLiveSustainably on social media!

Let's Begin!

Stop 1: Learn about the Green Fund

  1. Watch this 2-minute video about the Green Fund
  2. Explore the Green Fund website.
  3. Contact Green Fund Program Coordinator, Ian Aley,, if you are interested in learning more.Green Fund students work together

Stop 2: Think about the water use of your toilet at homeDan Mrotek checks the flow rate of toilet during the research stage of the Green Fund project. Photo by Ian Aley.

  1. Read about a Green Fund project that reduced water consumption in Residence Halls by installing efficient toilets.
  2. Visit the bathroom in your home and look for markings on the toilet that shows how many Gallons Per Flush (Gpf) are used during each flush. You may find this printed at the back of the bowl or inside the tank (see red circles in the photo below). Some common numbers you might see include 1.1, 1.26, 1.6, 3.5, or 4.6 Gpf.
  3. Make plans to retrofit your home toilet if it is not already a High Efficiency Toilet (HET). The City of Madison offers a $100 rebate for this retrofit. If you rent, talk to your landlord. If you live in a University Housing residence hall, talk to the Green Fund program coordinator, Ian Aley,
  4. Calculate the potential water savings from replacing your toilet. 
      • Assuming everyone in your household (or residence hall floor) flushed this toilet 5 times a day. How much water would you save in a year by upgrading your toilet to a HET?
      • If the average bathtub holds 42 gallons of water. How many bathtubs full of water would you save in a year?
        Toilet identification

Stop 3: Watch solar panels produce energy at Gordon Dining & Event Center

1. Go to a location where you can see the Gordon rooftop solar arrayMembers of Helios, Housing, Facilities Planning & Management, and the Office of Sustainability gather on the roof of Gordon Dining & Event Center. Left to right: Zach Galvin, David Darling, Sahil Verma, Breana Nehls, Stu Larose, Ian Aley.

      • Walk up to the second or third floor of the Nick (797 W. Dayton St.) where windows facing Dayton Street are at eye level with the solar panels. Here is more info about building access.
      • View the panels out the south-facing windows of the fourth floor of the Student Activity Center (SAC) (333 E. Campus Mall).

2. Check out the real-time electricity production data for the system displayed by this dashboard

      • How many kilowatts is the system currently producing?
      • How many tons of CO2 emissions has the system reduced this year compared to fossil fuel-based energy production?
      • Is the system on track to produce more or less electricity than expected this year?

3. Read a story about the students and staff who developed this Green Fund proposal

4. Watch this 40-second video of the installation process

Stop 4: Observe the bird-friendly glass coating on the windows of Ogg Residence Hall

Bird-safe window glazing at Ogg Hall

1. Visit the courtyard of Ogg Residence Hall (835 W. Dayton St.) to find the dots covering the windows of the glass walkway

2. Stand back to observe birds interacting with the glass

      • Do you see any changes in flight paths as birds approach the glass?

3. Read this post about the Green Fund project

      • Students led the project, collecting data and writing the funding application.

4. Listen to this 2-minute radio story about the ripple effects from the project

Stop 5: Explore the complexities of recycling at Gordon Dining

  1. Read about the students and staff who introduced a cardboard compactor to Gordon Dining with a Green Fund proposal.
  2. Take a virtual tour of the local recycling facility where the UW sends most materials to be sorted. The cardboard compactor avoids this complicated and expensive process by separating the cardboard from other resource streams at Gordon.
  3. Dive deeply into why recycling has changed recently by listening to this podcast. Shifts in global policy affect our local recycling system.
  4. Consider taking steps to avoid disposable packaging even if that packaging is “recyclable.”

Stop 6: Calculate the energy savings of the lighting retrofit at Gordon Dining

The same students who suggested installing solar panels on the roof of Gordon Dining also proposed upgrading the lighting of the building to high-efficiency LED bulbs. The students conducted an audit of the light bulbs, counting bulbs throughout the building. The students worked with staff to identify alternative lighting options that would save energy.Gordon Dining & Event Center building

1. Visit the lobby of Gordon Dining. 

Note: if you are unable to access the inside of Gordon Dining, feel free to do this activity from outside of the building.

2. Count the number of lightbulbs recessed in the ceiling of one section of the lobby. Calculate how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy the Green Fund project saved by replacing the bulbs in front of you?

Assume the following:

      • Before the implementation of the Green Fund project all of these bulbs were 26 watt compact fluorescent bulbs and are now 10 watt LED bulbs.
      • These bulbs are used for 20 hours a day.

Note the following:

      • There are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt.
      • A kWh is an hour of use of a kilowatt of electricity.
      • Here is a formula that you could use: X number of bulbs * wattage saved per bulb (26 watt – 10 watt) * 20 hours a day * 365 days a year = total watt hours a year saved/ 1,000 = total kWh a year saved

3. Calculate how many miles an Electric Vehicle (EV) could travel using the electricity saved over the course of a year from retrofitting the light bulbs in front of you?

Assume the following:

  • An average EV requires 30 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles.Replacing lights at the UW–Madison Arboretum Visitor Center

4. Return to the Solar Dashboard. Explore how the energy savings of the lighting retrofit compare to the renewable energy production of the solar panels at Gordon Dining.

Note the following:

      • The Green Fund project replaced 254 compact fluorescent bulbs and 1,171 fluorescent tubes, saving Gordon Dining an estimated 162 MWh/ year in total.
      • The solar panels cost around $70,000 to install (labor and materials). The materials for the lighting retrofit cost about $15,000.