Nevada 'N' made of recycled water bottles featured in Knowledge Center

University of Nevada, Reno celebrates Earth Week

4/20/2012 | By: Claudene Wharton  |

The soaring atrium of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, which housed a 9.5-foot tree made entirely of old books during the holiday season, is now the site of another display using recycled goods. In celebration of Earth Day, Knowledge Center employees have erected a 7-feet-tall, 8-feet-wide "N," constructed with 1,580 recycled water bottles collected in the center's recycling receptacles.

Alden Kamaunu, manager of the Knowledge Center's building operations, is the mastermind behind the Earth Day Nevada "N." Kamaunu constructed the holiday book tree in December, after Knowledge Center Librarian Erin Fisher came up with the idea. The process apparently got his creative juices flowing.

"I wanted to do something special for Earth Day, but I wasn't sure what," Kamaunu said. "I had seen a globe constructed of recycled water bottles. But, I wanted to do something to make it personal for our campus, so I decided upon the giant Nevada 'N'."

Kamaunu used PVC pipe to construct the frame, and campus colleagues Mark Gandolfo and Daniel Fergus illuminated the Nevada "N" with blue, energy-efficient LED lights. The lights cast an equivalent of 1,000 watts, but only actually use 97 watts.

The Earth Day Nevada "N" is located in the atrium inside the center's main entrance and will remain up for a couple of weeks. It is only one of many Earth Day activities happening on campus this week.

The campus makes sustainability efforts a priority throughout the year, and collects and delivers to recycling centers more than 55,000 pounds of aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles annually. In 2007, former University President Milt Glick signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, joining more than 600 university and college presidents agreeing to forge a path toward a sustainable future and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


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