While we’d love to think that all of what we do here in the sustainability realm is proactive and earth-shattering, quite a bit of our work is simply maintaining what has been created, or tracking and reporting what is currently happening. A great example of this is OSU applying for incentive money distributed by the Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Oregonians benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources. For important work that is done every day, like changing out inefficient T-12 fluorescent ballasts to more efficient T-8 models (read a nice post on T-12s and T-8s here), the Energy Trust gives OSU incentive money for becoming more energy efficient. Checks range from $20 for every 2 to 4 lamp T12 ballast that is replaced by a similar T8 ballast to $10 for every 2 fluorescent lamps that are removed (a process called delamping, typically done to reduce excessive lighting levels). Since January 2008, the Energy Trust has paid out over $48,000 to OSU for these ballast upgrades and delamping activities. This money would have never appeared if not for the hard work of campus electricians, and the OSU Sustainability Office staff who track said work and submit the required paperwork. The $48k has gone on to fund numerous sustainability initiatives around campus. Now that’s easy (and big!) money!