Oct. 5, 2006 • Volume 15 Number 3

Projects Target Usage in Residence Halls, Garages

One project aimed at conserving electricity in Boston College parking garages and another designed to measure usage in residence halls are the latest components of the University's on-going energy conservation effort.

Following the campaign's successful debut year in 2005-06, during which the University saved close to $2 million, BC administrators are at work implementing new and creative programs to help reduce energy consumption, ease pollution and save money.

"This is an on-going effort that's ultimately going to reduce BC's costs while doing our part to improve the environment," said Utilities Manager Deirdre Manning.

Manning said a new project initiated last week to replace lights in both campus parking garages will result in more illumination while reducing the amount of electricity drawn by some 40 percent.

"The savings will pay for the retrofit in three years," said Manning. "In addition to the financial benefits, the 352,000 fewer kilowatts used by the lighting each year reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 222 metric tons. That's the equivalent of taking 48 passenger cars off the road each year."

For public safety reasons, Manning said the lights in both garages must remain lit 24 hours a day, making a more efficient system necessary.

On another front, Manning predicts that the installation of electric meters in nearly every campus residence hall will help facilities administrators better manage the buildings and make students aware of the energy their dorms use. The meters, she said, can provide better, and more timely, information about how much electricity is being used and when.

"You can't manage what you don't measure," said Manning. "We can use that information to better determine our infrastructure needs as the university expands and to help identify inefficient equipment."

The meters also offer the possibility of continuing a program begun last year on Newton Campus in which residence halls compete for prizes based on how well they conserve energy. The winner was the Hardey-Cushing residence hall, which cut usage by nearly 11 percent.

"We believe that students, once made aware of the amount of energy they use and the impact it has on the environment, will be interested in helping us conserve," said Manning.

"We're making progress, but there's still much to accomplish. It is crucial that students, faculty and staff realize it is the responsibility of everyone on this campus to do his or her part to conserve." -Stephen Gawlik

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