Environmental Studies Blog

March 13, 2012

Brandeis Sustainable Energy Program

Filed under: Announcements — tbelanga @ 4:08 pm
The new Brandeis Sustainable Energy Program marks the next step in improving energy consumption on campus. Several buildings will undergo upgrades in heating and cooling systems, lighting retrofits, and other energy related inefficiencies. These improvements are projected to reduce annual utility costs by $540,000 and reduce carbon emissions  equal to taking 316 cars off the road! The upgrades will take place over the next 16 months with a budget of $5 million.  Buildings include many in the Science complex, Bernstein-Marcus Administration Building, Kutz Hall, Sherman Student Center, Slosberg, among others. This program jumpstarts Brandeis’ effort to reduce campus-wide energy consumption and fullfill goals in the Climate Action Plan with plans for additional improvements in the future.

March is Energize Brandeis Month. Brandeis Eco-Reps encourage all members of the Brandeis community to reduce energy consumption through simple actions like turning off lights, controlling heating, unplugging vampires (chargers and electronics that suck energy even when not in use), and using cold wash settings on washers. The goal of Energize Brandeis Month is to see a real change in energy use across campus.
Brandeis will be competing against other colleges in the 2012 Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN). The Building Dashboard will monitor energy consumption in the Shapiro Campus Center, Village Residence Hall, and Massell Quad and will calculate energy reduction during CCN. Other buildings will have challenges and prizes to encourage reduction. Ending in Earth Hour on March 31 where as a symbolic measure of all the energy saved the whole month full buildings will turn off lights together.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that one person’s actions can make a marked difference in energy reduction. Consider this statistic from theEPA: if every household in the U.S. replaced 5 light bulbs with ENERGY STAR bulbs, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

Think about it like this: you might not save much energy by turning off your lights one time, but imagine if you turned your lights off every time they weren’t in use for a year? What if every person in your neighborhood turned off their lights for five years or every person in your state? The individual is an important part of the equation because each person contributes to the collective impact.

Ask yourself, what can I do in my own life to save energy? You don’t have to lobby for the environment or plead with your city to use solar energy. You can reduce energy consumption with small changes to your daily life.

  1. Use power strips to turn off televisions, computers, chargers, appliances, and other electronics when not in use. The Natural Resources Defense Council points out that even when you think these products are off, their “standby” consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.
  2. Turn your heat down a few degrees during the winter and up a few degrees in the summer.
  3. Dry your clothes with a drying rack instead of in the machine.

Visit the Campus Sustainability Initiative website for more tips.


Composting at Brandeis
Reducing energy consumption in the home is not the only method to battling climate change. Composting food and garden scraps also reduces your carbon footprint and provides useful materials. Composting is easy and Brandeis offers several composting methods on campus.
Home Composting bins are available outside Charles River, Mods, Ridgewood, Ziv, and Village residences. See tips above for how to compost in home bins. Vermiculture or composting with worms, is offered in the Deroy 2 kitchen in Massell Quad.
Did you know that all waste in the Usdan and Sherman dining halls is sent to a Commercial Composting facility? Materials are heated to speed up the composting process which can also take many more items (such as meat and biodegradeable plastics) than home comopsters and the end result is a nutrient-rich fertilizer. In addition facilities services composts Yard Waste to reuse on campus.

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