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Published: June 29, 2023

UT Sustainability Community Event Features the Solar Butterfly

The Solar Butterfly, a solar-powered, 30-foot-long butterfly-shaped tiny house that charges the vehicle that tows it, will stop by The University of Tampa on Aug. 29 during its North American tour to celebrate and highlight UT’s progress on incorporating sustainability into the academic curriculum and into campus facilities and operations.

UT Community Event Features the Solar ButterflyUT will also celebrate its most recent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) certifications for its two newest buildings – phase 2 of the Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center, and the Jenkins Health and Technology Building

Starting at noon that day on the lawn in front of the Sykes College of Business on campus, UT will host an event that will feature:

  1. A variety of speakers related to sustainability at UT and in the surrounding community;
  2. A Sustainable Spartan Market featuring 20-30 local vendors that sell various sustainably produced items and hosted by the Environmental Protection Coalition (EPC) student organization; and,
  3. A demonstration of the Solar Butterfly.

UT will also celebrate its most recent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) certifications for its two newest buildings – phase 2 of the Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center, and the Jenkins Health and Technology Building.

The event, which is also intended to promote partnerships between the University and the surrounding community, is open and free to the public.

Over the past three decades, UT has taken a practical and multi-faceted approach to conserve natural resources, achieve cost savings and lessen environmental impacts on the community. UT, with the support of the Faculty Sustainability Committee and various student organizations, including the EPC and Roots and Shoots, has improved the quality of life and academic experience at the University while being responsive to the global nature of environmental issues facing all of society. UT is currently building a second chiller plant which reduces electricity and water usage, and therefore also reduces environmental and financial impacts to the University. Plus, the University recently installed six new electric vehicle (EV) chargers on campus and expanded its solar array capacity.

While it is towed by an electric vehicle, the Solar Butterfly has no use for those chargers. It is a solar-powered trailer developed by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland that charges the Tesla Model X that tows it. The Solar Butterfly is on a world tour to visit projects on climate change, innovative environmental pioneers, and universities and institutions focusing on educating and implementing sustainability solutions. Since the start of the tour at the United Nations in Geneva in May 2022, the Solar Butterfly has traveled more than 17,000 miles and visited 27 European countries. In 2023, it is traveling across Canada, the United States and Central America. 

For more information about the event, contact Dan Huber, UT professor and chair of environmental studies, at dhuber@ut.edu.


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