On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 local leaders gathered to hear University of Missouri civil engineering students present ideas on ways Columbia can combat climate change.
Each of the seven students who presented offered several options for Columbia to lower carbon emissions and to help the environment. Choices included solar panels on houses and sidewalks as well as environmentally sound transit.
Of the proposed changes, team member Collin Williams says that solar panels will provide the most benefit to the environment and Columbia.
“Solar panels can change the whole landscape of energy efficiency and CO2 reductions,” said Williams
In 2015 Columbia residents and workers emitted over 2 million tons of carbon dioxide. These high levels of carbon
dioxide are not only bad for the environment but also the health of local residents.
As a result, the city of Columbia reached out to the senior capstone students earlier this year. They contacted the students just after approving an ordinance to lessen Columbia’s carbon footprint.
For the entirety of the semester, the students have been collaborating with the city’s sustainability manager, Barbara Buffaloe, and local leaders in the city of Columbia to find economically sound options to fight climate change.
Project manager, Nick Eschbacher, expects the city to take on many of the proposed changes.
“The city is actually hiring a consultant and their going to do a lot of these ideas,” said Eschbacher
As an added benefit, during the presentation and in prior meetings, local leaders have had the opportunity to collaborate on ideas.
“It’s a good thing, exposing people to the presentation to others involved has gotten communications flowing,” said Eschbacher
Some of those involved include Drew Brooks, the Columbia transit, and parking manager. Who said he was impressed by the wealth of knowledge offered during the presentation.
“They really did the work, they did the math, they did all of the background collection of data,” said Brooks “and they had a lot of good information to support their propositions”
Brooks is unsure of what Columbia transit will do in response to the presentation but he knows that something needs to be done.
“It’s imperative, it’s something we need to do,” said Brooks.
The city hopes by utilizing these alternatives, they can expect to have a smaller carbon footprint in the years to come.