March 26, 2002

C.U. Makes Changes to Save Energy

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Working to slash energy consumption, the Kyoto Task Force is combining behind-the-scenes changes with a push for individuals to conserve energy.

In bi-weekly meetings and independent studies, students, professors, and administrators have formulated a number of proposals that have been and currently are being implemented.

Reaching Out

One such project involved sending an e-mail before holiday break in December reminding students and faculty to turn off non-vital electrical appliances. Simply asking, free of charge, resulted in a 5 percent decrease in energy use over break and a University-wide savings of $25,000.

“We want to work with people to change their behavior and turn things off

when they’re not using them,” said Lanny Joyce, coordinator of the Kyoto

Task Force. “People might be surprised by how much power is in their control.”

Further Attempts

Another ongoing project to change energy consumption behavior asks laboratory scientists to close fume-hoods when not in use, according to Abigail Krich ’03, a member of the Kyoto task force. The vents circulate large amounts of air, requiring the high consumption heating of air from outdoors.

“People can make these small adjustments that would make such a big difference,” Krich said. Changing behavior, however, can be difficult. Added to that challenge, construction is at an all-time high requiring high energy needs, according to Joyce.

“There has to be a user willingness,” said Joyce. “This is a very aggressive

goal for the University because we have big growth and power needs.”

Last year, Kyoto Now! rallied and succeed at convincing Day Hall to commit

to reducing power use levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2008, the target set by the Kyoto Pact to reduce greenhouse emissions. The United

States is not a member of the Kyoto Treaty.

Members of Kyoto Now! are also encouraging computer users to turn them off or put them in “sleep mode” when not in use.

“Everybody has their desktops and they run them all day long,” Krich said. “It’s really ridiculous.”

They are also trying to convince Cornell Information Technologies to install Energy Star in public computing labs.

Energy Star places computers in “hibernate mode” when they are not in use for a certain amount of time.

In addition to the public awareness campaign, the task force has also begun behind-the-scenes adjustments to reduce energy use.

One of these projects includes a change in the lighting in Lynah Rink.

Lynah Rink was installed with four levels of illumination settings. From brightest for game time to dimmest for public skating, the levels will save energy by reducing overall use of the heaviest draining lights.

Additionally, two new full-time mechanics have been hired to search for ways to tune up campus systems and reduce energy use. According to Krich, they should have a large impact in saving power.

Students are currently involved in an independent study examining the feasibility of placing solar panels on West Campus.

Despite all the measures and the effort, participants of the task force are still estimating that power use for the 2002 academic year will be higher than last year.

Nonetheless, Joyce estimates that in the past 15 years energy conservation projects have cut a projected 25% higher energy use.

“We’re just in the beginning year so it’s still to early to tell [the savings],” said Joyce. “We’ve got to create a whole new way of doing things.”

Archived article by Peter Norlander