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Monmouth College will be a 'greener' campus this Earth Day

Hannah Maloney ’17
Climate control adjustments in the Center for Science and Business are just one part of the energy-saving initiatives put in place over the last year.
When the Monmouth College community celebrates Earth Day on April 22, it will be held on a greener campus.

Over the last year, several measures have been taken by Monmouth’s facilities management department to make the campus a more sustainable place.

“Our physical plant is always brainstorming ways to lower the carbon footprint of the various facilities that keep our campus operating day to day,” said Director of Facilities Management Sarah Young.

One of the major sustainability initiatives was reducing the amount of energy used in two of the College’s largest buildings, the Huff Athletic Center and the Center for Science and Business.

Individuals walking past the 155,000-square-foot Huff Athletic Center’s fieldhouse since winter break have likely noticed that the light fixtures are much quieter. The metal halide open fixtures, which once gave off a loud buzzing noise, were swapped with LED lighting. That reduced the College’s monthly kilowatt usage by more than 72,000, saving the College about $5,000.

Changes in the 138,000-square-foot Center for Science and Business have also made a difference. Until last fall, the building’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems (HVAC) ran in an “occupied” mode virtually all of the time, Young said. The HVAC systems were updated so that a nighttime setback, or “unoccupied,” sequence now runs.

Additionally, some small changes were made to regulate the building’s humidity and pressure. Even with less mild weather than last year, the tweaks yielded positive results that help both environmentally and financially.

“Although we do not monitor power at the CSB individually, the electrical usage measured by our main meter did decrease significantly following the changes,” said Young. “The monthly usage for November to December decreased over 65,000 kilowatt hours from the previous year. This equates to approximately $4,500 in energy savings in one month.”

Steps toward using “greener” products by the custodial department have been taken as well. Changes include switching to biodegradable garbage bags, which are more environmentally friendly and result in 150 more bags for the same cost as the previous bags.

A process to eliminate battery-powered hand soap dispensers has also started. Not only are the batteries expensive, but the packaging in the dispensers ends up in landfills, said Young. “The cost savings in batteries, soap and manpower will be an added bonus to the green benefits.”