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University reduces energy consumption

Published: Monday, July 5, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

Since the approval of the Aggie Green Fund in March, students and officials have been working toward becoming a greener campus. Texas A&M received funding from the State Energy Conservation Office to aid in the energy conservation projects in campus buildings.

"It is important to conserve energy for three reasons," said Les Williams, associate director of utilities and energy management. "We have limited amounts of readily available energy, so it is only wise to conserve.

Financially, it just makes sense to not waste a very costly commodity like energy, and there is a direct correlation between the reduction in energy consumption and the reduction of the campus carbon footprint. A reduction in energy consumption will reduce the campus carbon footprint."

Students can benefit from conservation if they take the time to switch to greener applications and to look at energy sources around houses that can be reduced, Williams said. Some of the biggest energy consumption comes from thermostats lowered past 75 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving on lights and other electronics and frequent use of washers, dryers and dishwashers.

"Mostly I try to keep lights off when I am not in the room," said Brittany Ali, senior sociology major. "I use lamps instead of overhead lights unless I am doing something that requires it." Williams said energy use on campus had decreased significantly over the past several years.

"Relatively speaking, [Texas A&M] has done a good job of reducing overall energy consumption," he said. "We have reduced annual campus energy consumption by 24 percent while campus gross square footage has increased by 16 percent, resulting in a 33 percent reduction in energy consumption per gross square footage. With that said, there is still much more that we can do and should do through management of the energy consumption in buildings."

If students are interested in learning how much energy buildings on campus are consuming, the University has provided a "Building Consumption Profiles" link on their Utilities and Energy Management website that details how much energy the buildings are consuming.

"My primary efforts have been centered around engaging the campus community through the Energy Stewardship Program and ensuring that campus buildings are operating efficiently," Williams said. "It also focuses on promoting energy awareness by meeting with the staff, students and faculty to discuss ways to reduce the carbon footprint."

The University provides a hotline for students, faculty and staff to report energy or water waste.

"With a campus in excess or 21 million square feet in size, it is difficult to be everywhere," Williams said. "This hotline allows anyone to report an energy or water conservation opportunity. It does not matter how small or large."

One way for everyone to lower electricity use is to set thermostats to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during summer.

"It is the little things that count," said Gayle Evasco, class of 2010. "Our family uses energy-efficient bulbs throughout the house. We have a recycling bin provided by our city. We salvage food scraps to make our own organic compost, and we harvest rainwater to water our gardens."

How to conserve energy

  • Raise the thermostat temperature to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.
  • Turn off all lights, televisions, computers and other electronics upon leaving the room or the house. Don't leave appliances on overnight.
  • Unplug infrequently used appliances.
  • Do laundry with a large load rather than a small one, and use cold water.
  • During the summer, keep window shades and curtains closed to prevent solar heat gain.
  • Report any on campus energy or water waste to the energy hotline at (979) 458-2468.


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