|Energy and Resource Conservation
College recyclers have been demonstrating that individuals play an important role in campus resource use. As a result, many college recycling coordinators, managers, directors, and the like are being drawn into discussions about campus resource conservation. College recyclers are being involved in research, brainstorming, and networking with other campuses to learn about what is being done to minimize waste, and to develop educational activities to reduce energy, water, and material resource consumption on campus.
Education is an important tool in reducing campus impact. With increasing pressure on natural resources, conservation education is playing a crucial role in creating and expanding individual awareness. By challenging campus community members to use less and educating about individual impacts, small changes lead to big results.
Students are one of the greatest resources on college campuses. Utilize student energy for internships, class projects, and independent studies. Professors in all disciplines are often seeking relevant and timely class projects. Journalism students can create an advertising campaign. Business students can design and conduct a survey. Environmental Studies students can give “class raps” on resource conservation.
Resource Conservation Education Ideas
- *Make an energy conservation logo.
- *Create a list of ten actions that individuals can take to reduce Campus Environmental Impact. Make a half-sheet flier and distribute it to all campus departments. Ask that it be posted on a bulletin board or other highly visible spot in the office, and include it in all new student and employee informational packets.
- *Make conservation stickers ("Use Wisely") and apply as needed to printers, copy machines, light switches, and above water faucets.
- *Use sticker designs for banners and ads in the newspaper.
- *Advertise on the campus radio station to remind students about resource conservation. Prices for advertising vary campus to campus, but are generally in the ballpark of $10 for 30 seconds.
- *Put energy tips/factoids in faculty/staff newsletters.
- *Encourage the student newspaper to cover global energy issues and focus on what the campus is already doing and what more can be done to help.
- *Write letters to the editor or op-ed pieces that feature impacts of use and how conservation helps.
- *Install light switch covers to remind people to shut off lights. Add a catchy phrase: “Shut off lights, every watt counts!”
- *Make plastic, no-glue, stick-on decals for surfaces that will occasionally be cleaned (e.g. mirrors).
- *Create and distribute table tents in food service areas and on library tables with factoids and tips about what individuals can do to help promote environmental wellbeing.
- *Put up (and occasionally change) factoid signs by elevators and building entrances.
- *Promote environmental initiatives on a public level. For example, place descriptions below exit signs stating, "This exit sign is run by an LED and uses x% less energy than an incandescent bulb."
- *Make stickers for computer monitors that say: “Use wisely, every watt counts. Help conserve energy. Shut off monitor, printer, and computer when not in use. Thanks for conserving!”
- *Create a general campus brochure about resource conservation on campus. Distribute it in all new employee and student packets.
- *Make portable displays and posters for around campus.
- *Regularly display factoids on the university website.
- *Make a campus energy conservation webpage; display university energy use facts and provide information on how individual actions help. Cite all facts!
- *Write a "class rap" to send to professors and ask them to read it in class or have an intern go around to classes and make a short announcement on the issue of resource use and conservation.
- *Create resource conservation classes and institute campus projects.
- *Hire students (or enlist a class or student volunteers) to walk around campus and shut off lights and computer monitors. The group can wear t-shirts or buttons with a message promoting conservation.
- *Incorporate placement of decals on light switches, etc., into above mentioned project.
- *Create a "Report Wasted Energy" decal to put in all classrooms and department offices. List a phone number to call to report energy waste
- *Create a listserv of on-campus staff contacts and send conservation information and updates to all department contacts.
- *Have an energy representative attend department meetings and discuss steps individuals can take to reduce their impact and also explain how to heat and cool areas in a resource efficient manner. This will give folks a chance to ask questions and work as a team to reduce energy consumption.
- *Break down myths. For example: people think that computers have energy saving devices, so why shut off a computer? Even on low energy, computers still draw energy. Shutting computers off reduces the energy use to a trickle.
- *Garner support from the President of the University through a campus directive on energy use, especially limiting abuse of energy systems (e.g. leaving the heat on high all weekend for one person to come in for two hours).
- *Regularly set up interactive informational tables in public areas.
- *Invite the local utility company to contribute displays, coupons/rebates, or free (or low-cost) low wattage compact florescent or LED light bulbs.
- *Complete a campus wide survey to determine where the most education is required.
- *Find ways to tap into energy already being generated on campus. For example, in gym facilities set up all campus exercise bikes to power themselves and feed back into electricity generation for the building as a whole.
- *Turn down all campus hot water heaters.
- *Turn down the thermostats to 65 degrees in the winter and up to 75 degrees in the summer
- *Educate and innovate. Make conservation the rule not the exception (e.g. lock out hot water cycle on all campus washing machines).
- *Work with central administration to encourage telecommuting; even one day a month will make a difference.
- *Create incentives (such as giveaways, reduced-cost parking passes, etc.) for commuters to ride bikes, take the bus, or walk to campus.
Other Ways Universities Can Reduce Energy Use
- *Form a Resource Conservation Team of facilities managers and encourage development and implementation of educational strategies.
- *Form a student government task force to assist in getting the word out to students.
- *Increase maintenance (especially on leaking systems.) This can greatly reduce energy waste through preventing leakage.
- *Implement an exit lighting project to reduce lighting impact.
- *Team up with the local utility to do projects and share costs (such as installing motion sensors on lighting systems in classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, etc.)
- *Install low user sensors on vending machines.
- *Evaluate possible easy solutions to heating and cooling such as adding shades, planting trees, etc.
- *Sponsor energy challenges in the dorms to reduce energy use and award prizes. (See Ohio University energy challenge information below.)
Sample Resource Conservation Tip Sheet for Students, Faculty, and Staff
Ten Things You Can Do To Reduce University of ___________'s Environmental Impact
1. Report Wasted Energy and Water
Contact Facilities Services at XXX-XXXX to report any dripping faucets, running toilets, or lights left on.
2. Reduce Paper Use
Do not print large quantities of web pages, report drafts, or class notes. Reuse bags, envelopes, and scrap paper. Make double-sided copies and use route slips and electronic communication whenever possible.
3. Turn Lights Off When Not in Use
Buy fluorescent desk lamps with replacement bulbs instead of large banks of incandescent or halogen lights.
4. Turn Off Monitor When Not in Office or Room
Turn off computer when not in use. Buy energy efficient computer equipment with the Energy Star label.
5. Buy Products Containing Recycled Material….
….so we can recycle the products we buy!
6. Bike, Walk, Carpool, or Take the Bus
Remember, the bus is FREE to the University of ________Community. Just show a campus ID.
7. Conserve Water
When washing your hands, use only enough water to wet your hands and rinse off the soap. Turn off the faucet in between these times. Every drop counts!
8. Regulate Your Own Temperature
Dress appropriately for the season. Wear sweaters during winter instead of turning up thermostats and using space heaters. Use energy wisely!
9. Avoid Disposable Products
Use a refillable mug (available at Campus Recycling). Reuse shopping bags (or buy a canvas one). Select products with minimal and recyclable packaging.
10. Recycle Used Materials
Paper, cardboard, and beverage containers can be recycled in designated sites around the University of __________ campus.
Thank you for conserving resources and recycling at the University of __________.
University Conservation Programs
Iowa State University
University of Buffalo Green Program
University of Michigan Planet Blue
University of Oregon Campus Recycling Resource Conservation
University of Texas Medical Branch Resource Conservation Initiative
Washington State University Total Efficiency Network (TEN)
Western Michigan University
DOE, EnergyPlus Energy Simulation Software
EPA (Energy Star)
Water Conservation Tool