Energy conservation a pressing concern

Energy conservation a pressing concern

By this time we are all very aware of the way that natural disasters in the South have had an impact on gasoline prices. We also might have read stories about the fear that these events will have a continuing impact on fuel prices in the future, particularly during the coming winter heating season. Just as homeowners are worried about budget-breaking times ahead, so are we here at St. Thomas. A preliminary analysis and projection, assuming a "normal" winter heating season and assuming that fuel oil prices will remain at their current high levels, indicates that the university may incur expenses beyond its utility budget for fiscal year '06 by as much as $1 million. Since we already are operating under a very tight budget plan, it is even more important than usual for us to consider ways to conserve energy resources and reduce expenditures within the utilities budget.Here are some ways that have been proposed to conserve energy:

  • Reset all thermostats on campus to 68 degrees.

  • Remove lamps and ballast from 50 percent of all corridor lighting.

  • Encourage faculty and staff to turn off office and classroom lights whenever rooms are unoccupied.

  • Reduce the temperature of domestic hot water to 110-120 degrees.

  • Restrict cleaning and maintenance activities to hours when buildings are occupied.

  • Enable night setback features, where available, to reduce heating to 58-60 degrees between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In addition to providing your thoughts on these efforts, we welcome your additional suggestions for ways the university might conserve energy, both short-term and long-term, so that we can avoid a very detrimental budget situation as well as practice good environmental stewardship. Please send your thoughts to me or Dr. Charles Keffer, Mail #AQU 121.