2012 winter break energy savings reflect expanded College operations

During winter break, Facilities works to reduce the amount of energy used while many students are off campus. The winter savings this break were predicted to be less than those of previous years because it was deemed a “staff winter break,” not a “winter shutdown.”

As per the guidelines laid out in President Falk’s e-mail in the fall, a staff winter break means that many more buildings had their heat and electricity on during the daytime, yielding fewer opportunities for energy savings than in the past. The total amount of money spent on heating and electricity during the break for the 2012 fiscal year was $106,936, an increase from last year’s $94,088. “However, we did dodge a bullet because of the mild weather,” said Todd Holland, energy conservation project manager for the Zilkha Center. “[It] doesn’t have a big effect on electricity, but [it] does on fuel.”

Don Clark, utilities program manager for Facilities, was in charge of the energy savings calculations this year. These calculations are based off the individual electricity meters on the buildings, meters in the steam plant and fuel purchase records. Energy savings were calculated using the baseline from previous winter breaks, during which the buildings continued to use utilites during the daytime. The total cost of all utilities for the 2012 winter break totaled $145,327, an increase from the 2011 total of $140,970 but a decrease from the 2010 total of $149,067.

“The rate at which we’re doing efficiency work has increased substantially, but Williams has a long history of actually walking the walk with projects and especially operations” Holland said.

When discussing plans for the future, Holland said the department’s “near-term focus is on retrofit projects to increase efficiency by general renovations of any given building.”

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