Jeanette Burke ’18 is serving this semester as Centre College’s sustainability intern, a new position directed by John H. Walkup Professor of Chemistry Preston Miles. One of the projects the English major from Temecula, California, has undertaken is the Energy Competition, which reviews energy use in certain campus buildings in an effort to educate occupants on more efficient daily practices.
“I will be measuring the electricity used in 16 buildings from Friday to Friday for the four weeks in March and comparing that data to their historical averages,” Burke says. “We’re sending out the percentages early each week, and the winning building will receive a prize and recognition.”
The 16 buildings involved are the 11 Greek houses, Stuart Hall, Horky House, Chenault House, Cheek Emeritus House and Craik House, which is President John and First Lady Susie Roush’s home. The final measurement will be taken on March 30, and the winner will be announced April 4.
Much will depend on the residents of the competing buildings changing their energy-use behaviors. Some of Burke’s suggestions include turning off lights; turning off computers and televisions when not in use; unplugging appliances when not in use; turning down heat or air conditioning during the day; washing/drying clothes on a lower temperature; and always washing full loads of clothing.
Because these scenarios are often easier said than done, the sustainability internship has given Burke the means to bring the competition to life.
“This is an idea Professor Miles has been thinking about for a long time,” Burke says. “Other students have started some spreadsheets, but this is the first time it has happened. I am thinking of it as a test run. If this goes well, it can be a model for other students to recreate in the future.”
Burke says the competition has been met with enthusiasm.
“The students I have talked to have been excited about the idea,” she says. “The resident assistants I spoke with seem very positive.”
by Cindy Long
March 20, 2018