Idea Papers

Submitting an Idea Paper

The HEIF is an on-campus organization that promotes student-driven projects to reduce the environmental impacts associated with energy use. Students come up with the ideas, and students develop the ideas. Idea papers are a chance for students to submit their concepts to the HEIF committee who will then review all submitted papers and choose which are possible to be implemented on campus. If you’re interested in contributing an idea on campus, writing an idea paper is a way to do it! 

When you're ready (and before the deadline) email your paper to

2020 Idea Papers due May 8th.

Refer to the following resources for more information.

Idea Papers 2020

Idea Papers 2020

Food Sovereignty Lab 

Submitted by Amanda McDonald

"The Food Sovereignty Lab will function as a workshop and research center for practicing food sovereignty in multiple innovative ways. Centering Indigenous food sovereignty through Indigenous pedagogies, the location of the lab as part of Native American Studies program at Humboldt State, and respect for Indigenous cultures such as the Wiyot and surrounding peoples of Humboldt Bay. The lab will include a commercially certified kitchen, storage cabinets, large work tables, office space for research and studying, a white board, a large television for use in presentations, and a sound system. May it be proposed the HEIF supports the Food Sovereignty Lab by purchasing energy efficient kitchen equipment and facility renovations. May it be recommended the HEIF funding contribute to the development of non grid tied solar to support the Food Sovereignty Lab and Native American Forum and further demonstrate sovereignty through energy independence." (Read More)


Food for Thought 

Submitted by Kelsy Fletterick, Pheobe Hughes, Harrison Kummer, Thomas Premo, and Collin Slavey

"Food for Thought will create parcels of edible landscape in convenient, accessible and appropriate locations at HSU. The landscape will expand the scale of food bearing terrain on campus including a diverse orchard, abundant native berry bushes and plots of perennial produce." (Read More)


Paper Towel Compost

Submitted by Natalie Rynne

"My idea is for HEIF to fund enough hours for student positions through WRRAP’s compost team to collect paper towels from campus restrooms. The existing bins can become paper towels only, trash can go in the small bins in the stalls or trash bins outside of the restrooms. The paper towels can be composted at CCAT, by WRRAP in the earth tub, or by the Local Worm Guy. This project would require education materials such as signage on bins themselves and digital media such as short videos and instagram posts to inform campus community members that we are collecting paper towels separately. Paper towels are a great source of carbon and would divert more of HSU waste from the landfill." (Read More)


Solar Carports G11 

Submitted by Cassidy Fosdick and Nicholas Brandi

"G11 is the largest and minimally shaded area on Humboldt State’s campus that could feasibly have a large solar and battery system. Appendix A is a diagram depicting the suggested area for the solar paneled carports. The total area available to be covered by solar panels is 54,801ft². The area was found using the Google Earth measuring tool. Utilizing the specifications from the average solar panel and how much solar radiation is received in this location the system has the capability to produce around 1,007,888kWh per year. The estimated energy was found using the NREL calculator. The total power this system would produce is 822kW. This estimation was achieved by taking the amount of watts generated per square foot of the average solar panel, 15W, and multiplying it by the total square feet. The excess power from this solar system has the potential to be stored into batteries that could therefore make HSU into an island of resistance against times of crises." (Read More)

Idea Papers 2019

Idea Papers 2019

Reusable Utensils and Dishware Washing Stations

Submitted by Cassandra Castruita

"This project would support and encourage students, staff, employees and HSU visitor’s usage of reusable utensils and dishware through the construction and the implementation of four designated outdoor R.U.D. (Reusable Utensils and Dishware) Washing Stations throughout campus. These stations would be located by the 5 main dining locations on campus: The J, the Depot, the College Creek Marketplace, the Library Café and the Hilltop Marketplace." (Read More)


Utility and Style: A Cargo E-Bicycle for the Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program

Submitted by Austen Thibault and Jay Ryan

"The Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) is a student-led program at Humboldt State University which embodies the university’s culture of sustainability while providing numerous free services to students and employees. But we have a problem. WRRAP does not have a consistent way to transport its materials, causing a bottleneck effect on operations of every branch of WRRAP. For instance, Compost Squad has had to delay or even cancel compost pickups across campus due to the unavailability or failure of the current transportation borrowed from Facilities. The Zero Waste branch struggles to find suitable locations for clothing swap events due to the limitation of having to manually haul all clothing to and from our base of operations at the Warren House. Therefore, to gain sustainable transportation independence and increase the success of our mission, we submit the proposal to purchase a cargo electric bicycle for WRRAP. This e-bike would solve transportation issues, while also serving as a highly visible and attention-grabbing presence on campus, encouraging conversation and participation around sustainable practices. Further, this purchase synergizes with the recent absorption of the Bicycle Learning Center under WRRAP’s umbrella. The Bicycle Learning Center would use this e-bike as an educational tool for students and could assist in its maintenance."  (Read More)


Sustainable Green Space Management

Submitted by Jacob Gellatly

"To increase on campus carbon sequestration, reduce on-campus fuel consumption, build healthier soil structures, and reduce facilities labor costs, this project aims to explore alternative management practices for green spaces on campus. Green space will refer to areas on campus that are covered primarily by grass. The goal of this project is to identify and implement green space management practices that consider carbon sequestration, fuel and water consumption, long term soil impact, and maintenance costs. (Read More)


Personal Access Display Device (PADD)

Submitted by Daniel Evans

"The goal of this idea is to put into motion an exploration of the quantitative and qualitative costs and benefits of shifting Humboldt State University to a virtually paper-free institution through the widespread use of widely available digital technology, i.e. cellphones, tablets, personal computers and the internet.

This satisfies HEIF’s mission of reducing the impact of HSU’s energy use, in this case, with respect to the energy associated with the manufacture and transportation of paper resources. Implementation of this idea would also meet two of HEIF’s five primary goals. The project’s success can easily be quantified by students and economic analyses of projects is fundamental to any major on campus. Furthermore, conservation of natural resources is an integral part of curricula in multiple disciplines within the College of Natural Resources." (Read More)


OZZI Enhancement

Submitted by Jessica Ramirez

"This Idea paper purposes that Humboldt Energy Independence Fund enhance the current HSU’s OZZI system through increasing the accessibility & usability, and the awareness to reduce the solid waste disposal at HSU." (Read More)


Off-Campus Park-and-Ride Lots and Shuttles

Submitted by Chih-Wei

"The off-campus park-and-ride lots and shuttles would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from student and faculty commuting. The potential lots such as retail store parking lots (e.g., Target) would be connected to campus via third party shuttle or bus service (i.e., Humboldt Transit Agency) or the university’s shuttle or bus service. The project could alleviate the campus parking supply issue and serve as an alternative transportation mode to further commit to the university’s sustainability goals. (Read More)


Conversion of Fluorescent Light Hoods with Fluorescent Tubes to LED Light Hoods with LED Tubes

Submitted by Alex Cody-Prentice

"In order to save money, decrease power consumption, and decrease carbon emissions, fluorescent light fixtures can be converted into LED light fixtures. This project can start within the Science D building, which has outdated flourescent fixtures running outdated flourescent lights. The project can potentially expand to all buildings within the HSU campus that use fluorescent hoods with fluorescent tubes, because that would mean more energy savings and cost savings for the school overall. The project would be very low cost because the school already needs to replace fluorescent bulbs on a regular basis. By converting to LED tube lights, the school would not need to replace the LED tube lights as often because of the much longer lifetime of an LED tube light compared to that of a fluorescent tube light. (Read More)


Fume Hood Retrofit

Submitted by Solar Decathlon Team Members, Lynn Brown and Nancy Charco. Advised by Assistant Professor Peter Alstone.

"This is a proposal to investigate possible energy savings of the 100 fume hoods on the Humboldt State University Campus. Some of the equipment is almost fifty years old and efficiency savings could be found in focusing on replacing energy intensive equipment. The primary intent is to understand opportunities for investment in more efficient hoods and whether there is also user behavioral or operations changes that could reduce energy use while maintaining or improving safety." (Read More)


Electric Bicycle Fruit and Produce Cart

Submitted by Ben Nguyen

"This project would seek to generate accessibility to fresh fruit and produce to students around campus. There is a lack of distribution and signage for fresh fruit and produce at HSU which leads to the consumption of more packaged and processed foods. In cooperation with the Oh-Snap program, this bicycle produce cart would distribute healthy alternatives with convenience. Additionally, this project will serve as a learning demonstration for electric powered transportation, food justice, community supported agriculture, and appropriate technology. (Read More)


Humboldt State-Bayside Community Garden

Submitted by Anh Bui and Luke Pascasio

"This project would seek to reduce the campus’ footprint on food transportation and make use of the local gardening scene and would foster the connection with the community through partnership with Bayside Park Farm and Community Garden in renting garden plots that can provide food for campus Dining operation. (Read More)


CCAT Solar Array Upgrade

Submitted by Jacob Gellaty

"This purpose of this paper is to propose a project to analyze and upgrade the solar PV array at Humboldt State’s Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. CCAT is a student funded, and managed organization that demonstrates appropriate technology in a residential setting. CCATs current panels are dating back to 2001, before the home was moved from its original location where the Behavioral and Social Sciences building now stands. In the spring of 2019 CCAT replaced their defective inverter with a new Fronius Primo 3.8 kW. Currently the system is producing solar energy, but improvements in efficiency could be made by upgrading the solar PV panels. The goal of this project is to analyze the current system and installation setting at CCAT, and to optimize the energy output of the system." (Read More)


On Campus Demonstration Biogas Digestor

Submitted by Jacob Gellatly

"How can Humboldt State manage food waste resources while simultaneously providing and promoting energy independence? The purpose of this paper is to present an idea on how to move forward with these challenges, by showcasing an on-campus biogas digester at HSU. Biogas digestion is a process of anaerobic decomposition, in which natural gases that occur during the decomposition process, are contained with intention for a fuel source. This project will provide an opportunity for the campus to showcase and pioneer how our waste streams can be managed in a holistic approach providing additional resources. A potential site for the digestor could be the school’s Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT). The digestor would serve as a demonstration for how food and other organic waste can be effectively managed and turned into a source of energy independence. Biogas digestors can range from consumer ready, commercially manufactured packages, to one-of-a-kind, do it yourself masterpieces. Further development for this project may include determining feasible packages for demonstration, determining the appropriate size of the digestor, and designing the final system." (Read More)


Idea Papers 2018

Idea Papers 2018

Earth Tub Cover 

Submitted by: Diana Orozco

The goal of this project is to improve the efficiency of the Associated Student run Waste Reduction Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) compost program by constructing a cover to reduce rain entering Humboldt State University's Earth Tub composting unit and creating a covered space for student workers to process the compost and provide educational demonstrations. The Earth Tub has been an important part of WRRAP’s composting program since 2013, as it serves as an important example of sustainable waste management on campus. WRRAP’s student run Compost Squad operates the Earth Tub to help divert nearly 300 pounds of food waste from small buckets placed in break rooms, and coffee carts every week, and provides finished compost to programs such Oh SNAP, local businesses, and WRRAP users. The current attempt to cover the Earth Tub with tarps has been ineffective and this material does not provide a sturdy cover to withstand the amount of rain and moisture that is prevalent in Humboldt County. Tarps are also very time consuming to set up and take down.

This Idea was accepted and later approved for development. It is curently in the design stage of implementaion.



HGH Heat Pump Design

Submitted by: Christina Ortega, Xavier Hernandez, and Craig Mitchell 

This project looked into the feasibility of installing a heat pump, or series of heat pumps, at the location of the decommissioned Forbes Complex Cogen. Additionally the team looked at the feasibility of replacing a natural gas boiler with a heat pump that would utilities the existing hydronic heating infrastructure.

After an initial review looking for similar projects, the team concluded that using the district heating loop posed too many unknowns and funds would probably be better spent retro-fitting a single building with some configuration of heat pump technology. Harry Griffith Hall was the recommended building, based on feedback from Facilities Management The final approval by the Committee was to direct FM Planning Design and Construction to solicit a design for heat pump system in HGH.

 This project was accepted and approved for development. It is currenytly in the design phase of implemenation.




Idea Papers 2017

Idea Papers 2017

HEIF received five Idea Papers in Spring 2017, all which were approved to go on to the next stage of development. Attached to the title of each idea is the pdf that was submitted by students. 

Telonicher Marine Lab Indoor LED Retrofit

A survey and report conducted by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority on the Humboldt State Marine Laboratory showed that the university could save an estimated $9,439.39 per year and an estimated energy savings of 44,952kWh per year by changing their lighting system. This project seeks to replace the lights in HSU's Marine Lab to high-efficiency LEDs, where students will potentially conduct an energy analysis before and after installment.

Campus Street Light LED Retrofit

This project seeks to reduce Humboldt State University's energy expenditures and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, reduce light pollution, and improve campus safety and visibility by retrofitting campus street and pathway lights with energy efficient LED.

HEIF Documentary

Students will be researching a range of subject matters such as target audience, themes, successes and challenges that would be covered in making a HEIF video presentation. The vision for the documentary is flexible, and much of the creativity will come from the development team.

Electronic Receipts

This project presents an opportunity to conduct research into providing alternatives to paper receipts currently used for all sales conducted on campus. The team will focus primarily on the food service area, such as the J dining hall, Depot, and Marketplace.

Shower Water Reduction

Students will research various approaches to reduce the current water consumption from on-campus showers. This might materialize in behavior modification of students or equipping the showers with a new physical device.