Each winter break since 2008-09, the College has shut down the campus for a period of 10 days over winter break to save energy, an effort which Stephanie Boyd, director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, called “a real team effort involving participation from all campus constituents.”
This year, energy savings over winter break increased by nearly 40 percent since the initial energy-saving shutdown.
In 2011, the College saved 5332 million British Thermal Units (MMBTU), up from 4675 MMBTU in 2010 and 3833 MMBTU in 2009, which marked the first winter shutdown.
These savings also translate into a substantial decrease in emissions, which Boyd said is a notable achievement.
During this year’s shutdown, the College avoided releasing 488 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
This is an improvement from 2010, when 455 metric tonnes were released, and 2009, when 361 metric tonnes were released.
This year, the College reported a savings of $107,312. This number has also increased over the past two years: $79,662 in 2009 and $99,414 in 2010.
According to Boyd, the winter break shutdown program is successful due to collaborative effort of those who do remain on campus during the break.
“Faculty give up time in their offices and labs during the break when they often want to work, students and staff turn off and unplug electrical equipment in their rooms … and the Facilities department makes sure buildings’ temperatures are turned down and mishaps are avoided,” Boyd said.
Students returning from winter break may have also noticed that their electrical appliances were unplugged and their heating shut off. This was another element of the shutdown effort.
Boyd said the program, which she and the Zilkha Center consider successful, will definitely continue into the future.
“We save energy and money, and we reduce our environmental impact through reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Boyd said.