Energy Costs Skyrocketing
Conservation sorely needed on campus, say BC administrators
By Greg Frost
As Boston College grapples with a spike in energy costs, Facilities Services Director Mike Jednak has a simple message for faculty, staff and students: Everyone on campus can - and should - help conserve energy.
Jednak said BC is already making efforts toward fuel and electricity savings. However, more can be done, from closing and locking windows to switching off lights in rooms when they are not in use. [Jednak offers a Top 10 list of ways to help conserve energy at BC]
"We've focused on energy conservation this year because of the tremendous rise in costs," Jednak said. "It's important that the University community understand that saving energy at BC saves money. But it's also about protecting the environment by cutting pollution."
As a result of rate increases BC's total utility costs in 2006 are expected to soar approximately 39 percent compared to 2005, which were already high to begin with, says Jednak. In practical terms, this means that BC is paying several million dollars more for energy this year than last.
Already, Jednak's team has taken a number of steps both large and small to conserve energy. For example, his office worked closely with Residential Life to sharply lower the heat in 70 percent of the University's residence halls during the winter break.
According to Susan Burton, associate director of Residential Life, this accomplishment was easier said than done. Several hundred students, many of them athletes, have legitimate reasons for staying at BC during the break, and these residents had to be relocated to other halls that remained open and heated during the recess, she said.
Burton also said her office urged residents to unplug all electronic devices - whether alarm clocks or computers - before leaving last semester.
For Jednak and the rest of Facilities Services, energy savings starts at home. Jednak said he and two colleagues who work in close proximity have unplugged their own individual computer printers and now share a network printer instead. They also unplugged a small refrigerator in their work area that was hardly being used.
Jednak pointed out that even the lowly cell phone charger can make a dent in the University's electric bill.
"Would you believe that a single cell phone charger costs about three bucks a month to operate, even if it's just plugged into a wall socket and not charging a phone?" he said. "How many of these chargers are plugged in around campus?"