Energy conservation has been a priority at Centre
RELEASED: December 13, 2007
Earlier this month, Wayne King, director of facilities management, and Scott Messer, assistant director of buildings and trades, sat down with Preston Miles, Walkup Professor of Chemistry and chair of Centre's ACUPCC advisory committee, to review Centre's efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
Centre first became intentional about lowering energy consumption in the early 1970s during the gas crisis.
Centre's conservation policy took the next step during the 1980s when the College committed itself to purchasing only recycled paper products.
"To this day, all of our paper towel and toilet tissue products are 100 percent recycled," King says. "We don't use any virgin materials." Even the garbage bags used by the custodial staff must be high-density recycled plastic, a material that replaced polyethylene decades ago.
The College's first energy audit came in 2002, evaluating Centre's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting energy consumption. Following the report, Centre entered into an agreement with Louisville Gas and Electric, which assisted the College in replacing every incandescent light bulb on campus with an 80-watt fluorescent lighting. Today, residence hall rooms are equipped with light bulbs never exceeding 68 watts.
More recently, the College has employed a host of environmental solutions, from high-tech energy management systems to simply reusing supplies when possible. Some examples include:
• Centre currently uses Circon, a state-of-the-art energy management system in 90 percent of all campus facilities, which allows technicians to read and control the temperature in any building, as well as set schedules that reduce energy use.
• Seventy-five percent of the windows on Centre's campus are dual pane, which reduces heating and cooling waste. This percentage is rising consistently.
• All cooling systems on campus have been replaced by low-energy systems except one in Centre's Norton Center for the Arts. The Norton Center system will be replaced as part of a refurbishment scheduled to be completed by 2010. Operating costs for the building are estimated to decrease by 10 to 20 percent.
• All chillers on campus use CFC-free refrigerants. In addition, fountains on campus are winterized with biodegradable antifreeze, which can be more difficult to acquire but is much less destructive to the environment.
• The College is currently looking into replacing several standard light fixtures on campus with LED (light-emitting diode) Can Retro Fit lights, which use only 12 watts but produce the same lumens as a 200-watt bulb. Each LED unit would last 20 years.
• Each winter break, Centre reduces the temperature of the swimming pool in Boles Natatorium from 85 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and cuts the temperature of boilers back from 180 degrees in buildings where applicable. Savings to the campus in energy use are valued at $8,000 over the three-week period.
• When toilets need replacing it is with models that use half the amount of water per flush.
• Mineral spirits, used to clean paintbrushes during annual touch-ups and new painting in campus buildings, are reused through a basic filtering process. A 55-gallon drum of mineral spirits will last two years before being disposed of using the proper agents.
To review past articles in this ACUPCC series, follow the links below.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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