Texas A&M Residence Halls Compete to Conserve Energy

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, December 17, 2007 (ENS) – Agriculture students residing on campus have joined in Texas A&M’s ongoing energy conservation program, which has helped the university avoid multi-millions of dollars in costs.

With one of the nation’s largest on-campus dormitory operations, housing about 11,000 students, the program got a boost this semester when the university’s 29 residence halls began competing to determine which could cut their energy consumption the most.

“It’s highly gratifying to see our students so enthusiastically join in the campus-wide effort to conserve energy and help the university reduce its electrical and related costs,” said Ron Sasse, director of residence life at Texas A&M.

Motto of the Residence Hall Energy Challenge is “When not in use, turn off the juice.”

The Texas A&M Office of Energy Management gives computing tips such as:

* Turn off your computer at night and when you are not using it for several hours.
* Enable the Power Management feature for your monitor.
* Turn off your monitor when you are not using your computer for 15 minutes or longer.
* If you buy new computer equipment, purchase Energy Star approved equipment.
* If you buy a new computer, consider a laptop. Laptops use only 1/10 the energy of a desktop computer.
* If you buy a new monitor, consider a flat screen. They use only 1/3 the energy.
* Don’t enable screen savers on the computer – they keep the hard drive and monitor active and waste energy.

And in general Texas A&M asks that students:

* Turn off all lights whenever you leave a room or bathroom. Open your blinds on warm, sunny days instead of turning on extra lights. Use energy saving compact fluorescent lamps in your room.
* Don’t use decorative lighting (neon, lava, string lights, etc.).
* Turn off lights, computers, printers, coffee makers, television, VCR, DVD, radios and other equipment when not in use.
* Share a fridge!
* Wear a sweater or other clothing appropriate for reduced temperatures in cold weather and higher temperatures in warm weather.
* Use low flow control settings on air conditioners whenever leaving the room for an extended period of time, such as evenings and weekends.
* Close blinds after sunset on cold days to keep the heat in.
* Wash and dry full loads of clothing. Wash clothes in cold water. Clean lint filters after each use.
* Conserve water by taking short showers.
* Air dry your hair.
* Don’t leave water running when brushing your pearly whites or while shaving.
* Report energy and water waste to Resident Hall Manager.

Homer Bruner, energy manager, said, “The Residence Hall Energy Challenge was a cooperative effort between hall residents, Residence Life and the Office of Energy Management. It was a joy seeing Aggies getting involved in campus energy conservation and change their individual lifestyles by going green.”

To make the energy-reduction competition as fair and balanced as possible, the university’s residence halls, were divided into six categories by architecture: ramp-style halls, balcony-style halls, corridor-style halls, halls in the Commons, modular Northside and modular Southside halls.

This year Clements Hall, with A.J. Stramaski as hall director, achieved the highest reduction of 20.15 percent.

The halls in each group with the greatest reduction in energy usage compared to a consumption baseline from last year will be awarded $400 in Department of Residence Life-funded items for their halls. Clements Hall will receive a traveling trophy, engraved with the hall name.

One of the goals of the challenge, sponsored by the Department of Residence Life and Physical Plant Utilities, is to raise awareness of and promote greater campus involvement in conservation while still having fun, organizers say.

The student organizers note another goal is to encourage their fellow students to “go green” and change their individual lifestyles and attitudes about the need for conservation and the importance of sustainability.

They also encourage residence hall students to participate in campus energy conservation as the “right thing to do” to help save money and reduce fossil fuel emissions from power generation plants.

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