A Greener Geneva – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A Greener Geneva

Kana ’09 works on Geneva’s Energy Efficiency

This semester, Austin Kana ’09 is working with Geneva public officials, including Mayor Stu Einstein, to make the municipal buildings in the City of Geneva energy efficient.

Last year, Kana was awarded the EPA GRO Undergraduate Fellowship, which is awarded to students in environmental fields.  They receive support for their junior and senior years and for an internship at an EPA facility during the interim summer.  Kana, an environmental studies and public policy double-major and mathematics minor, spent this past summer interning at the EPA New England’s office in Boston, Mass., working regularly with eight towns to benchmark municipal buildings for energy efficient improvements. 

Now it’s Geneva’s turn.  “One weekend,” Kana says, “I approached James Landi, the current sustainability coordinator, and he mentioned that the City of Geneva might be interested in getting involved with this as well.  I soon received an e-mail from [CCESL Assistant Director] Katie Flowers saying the Mayor was onboard.”

“They wanted to know if I was interested in applying the knowledge I learned in the summer to Geneva.  When I came back to campus, I signed up for an independent study with Professor Drennen to make this project official.” 

Explaining the work that lies ahead, Kana says, “There are three goals in making the buildings more energy efficient: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that occur from the generation and consumption of this energy, save the City of Geneva money with regards to rising energy costs and put the City of Geneva on the map as one that is progressive in terms of its environmental consciousness.”

Currently, Kana is in the process of “benchmarking” the buildings, which involves using an online tool to rate the buildings’ actual energy use against buildings of similar age and dimensions. 

“Collecting all the raw data for this part of the project can be time consuming,” Kana says, though he hopes to be done within the next several weeks.  “From there, I will analyze the results and come up with a plan to make improvements to the buildings from low-cost/no-cost improvements following by more expensive initiatives. I will also be looking into financing opportunities from outside sources to help pay for the upfront costs of these projects. Finally I will try to implement these changes into the buildings to make a lasting, positive impact in Geneva.”

Kana says he is looking forward to the last two steps of the project-devising a plan and putting it into action. 

Kana’s proposal sets “some lofty goals that will be difficult to accomplish in one semester, or even in a year,” he says.  However, he is almost two months in and if data collection and overall progress is goes according to plan, his work could turn into a year-long honors project.

Thinking on the entire endeavor, Kana explains, “I would like to leave Hobart knowing that I made a lasting positive impact in the community….Ideally, this project will kick-start some action from inside the Geneva community after I leave.”

The photo above is Kana riding on one of the yellow bikes sponsored through the campus’ green initiatives. He’s riding with Kelly Biggs ’11.