New Conservation Project to Save College $600,000 a Year
Updated lighting fixtures and shower heads will help reduce energy consumption by 26 percent.
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
Spring break marked the beginning of Kenyon’s “Energy Conservation Project,” which will retrofit the entire campus with new light and water fixtures and other systemic components over the course of the next year.
The proposed changes, which will update lighting, heat and air conditioning and water systems, will cut energy consumption by 26 percent. Kenyon initiated this $7.5 million project as part of its efforts to achieve greater environmental sustainability.
The primary focus of these renovations is in Caples, Mather and McBride Residence Halls and will include bathroom upgrades, window treatments and replacing some of the original fixtures from the ’70s.
“There’s nothing especially sexy about light bulbs or water fixtures, but they are going to implement some sort of kiosks around that are going to be plugged into the system,” said David Hoyt ’14, chair of Buildings and Grounds and photo editor for the Collegian. These kiosks will provide students with information about their energy consumption. “When people know how much energy they are using, they become more aware of it and are more likely to use less, especially if you make it a game,” Hoyt said. The College also intends to incorporate the information from these kiosks into its Facebook and Twitter pages.
The College spent a year and half choosing the company Ameresco for the project. “They’ve guaranteed us that we will reduce our energy consumption by 26 percent once the whole project is done, which results in a savings of … about $600,000 a year. And that number they guarantee, so if we don’t save that much they pay us the difference,” said Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman. Otherwise, this project would have taken about 15 years of regular maintenance and summer projects, according to Kohlman.
Over spring break, renovators worked in Caples to replace toilets and showerheads and are now working in most of the academic and administrative buildings at night. “I live in Caples and have already seen the improvements they made there,” Hoyt said. “The new showerheads work just as well as the old ones and they use a lot less water ... only like 1.5 gallons a minute.”
President S. Georgia Nugent said that while Kenyon has been comparatively slow in implementing “green” initiatives, “over the last few years there have been systems developed … that are much better than what was available five years ago. I think we’re going to make some pretty big leaps there, which is good."