State-of-the-Art Composting Facility at Ohio University Leads in Green Technology


| 2/23/2017 10:57:00 AM


Tags: composting, environmental education, higher education, Ohio, David Hamill,

In 2009, with my retirement from Ohio University looming over me, I didn’t think my personal involvement in the construction and startup of a Class 2 compost facility on Ohio University’s campus would develop into such a large operation. Class 2 compost (according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency) consists of yard, agriculture, animal, or food waste, plus a bulking agent.

To get this project underway, thousands of yards of dirt on the campus’ periphery had to be moved to prepare the site, and then many yards of concrete were poured to construct the base of a metal pole barn, which would eventually house the composting machine.

Hauled by semi truck from Ottawa, Canada, the enormous composting machine was unloaded by crane and placed on the concrete pad. At times I wondered, “How’s this machine going to work?” But eventually, day-by-day, the entire process starting coming together like a huge three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

Green Energy and Water Features

The vertical posts were installed and metal siding attached. For power, electricity was connected and the solar array installed. Today, the Ohio University composting facility also boasts a solar thermal system and waste oil heaters that uses leftover oil from the university’s facilities operations.

Skylights provide indirect lighting. The entire facility is self-sustainable. With a 10 kilowatt-per-hour system built in 2009 and a 31.1 kilowatt-per-hour system added in 2012, the solar array produces more energy than is used in the operation.




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