'Go Green' Questions

October 2009

1. I love the Energy Awareness newsletter; both the concept and the figures it related in energy usage reductions. I'm used to working in an industry (HVAC) that operates "behind the scenes" but is on the forefront of energy awareness.

2. In the next month or so space heater usage in Cohodas will start using up electricity - it would be a much more efficient use of NMU resources if we could get the insulation concerns dealt with (on the second floor of Cohodas, the floor over the overhang does not seem to be insulated - I can keep soda refrigerated by putting the 12 pack on my office floor).  In addition, drafty windows, drafts coming in through electrical outlets, etc. We have Monday mornings during the winter when some of us come into offices at 51 or 52 degrees - so we have no choice but to use the most energy inefficient method of making our offices usable - and that is lots of personal space heaters.

This project is currently being pursued.  The design options and associated costs are being evaluated with construction anticipated to begin in late fall/early winter. 

3. Just curious......what accounts for the 51.8% drop in water consumption in May?

Several factors contributed to this including the greater precipitation in the May 09 (0.81") versus May 08 (minimal); a conscious effort "not to water" was made this year over last year; the lower average temperature in May 09 (59 deg F) as compared to May 08 (75 deg F) resulting in the chillers not running as much.  Chillers (air conditioning) consume a large percentage of the water usage in the summer along with lawn irrigation.  The University Center Chiller was down for maintenance most of the summer.  Thus, the decrease in watering (irrigation) and the decrease in chiller usage resulted in an overall decrease in water usage.  

4. Is there a way to keep the outside doors (primarily the Seaborg entrance) from remaining open during the winter due to the force of the blowers in the entrance? It is a problem that not only wastes heat, but also allows doors to remain open when the building is supposed to be locked. I’ve run into this problem numerous times in the winter. I’ve reported it to Public Safety, but the problem continues.

West Science was being over pressurized due to the failure of some mechanical equipment.  The equipment has been repaired which should properly balance the air flow in the building.   If anyone finds that the south entrance rotunda doors to West Science are being held open, please call Plant Operations at extension 2292 and report the problem promptly to facilitate timely and effective troubleshooting.       

5. The New Science Facility has always seemed way over air-conditioned to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like air conditioning, but why does it need to be so cool that it is uncomfortable to wear summer clothes?  I have a thermometer in my office and the temperature during the summer is routinely down around 70 or even the high 60s, and the hallways and bathrooms often are noticeably cooler.  I know of people who use space heaters in their offices more in the summer than in the winter (a double whammy—we use energy and spend money to cool the building and additional energy/money to overcome that over-cooling!).  To be comfortable, I frequently wear an extra shirt (heavy flannel) over whatever I am wearing for the day, which seems like a crazy thing to have to do during the summer.

Being the newest in our fleet, the NSF building has the most efficient air conditioning and most sophisticated controls system on campus!  The air handling units are designed to supply a constant 55ºF air, 24 hours per day/365 days per year; with an optimal occupancy operating range of between 68 - 70ºF.  Each office area has individual reheat boxes that act as little computers above the ceiling; a thermostat tells the box to temper the 55ºF air according to its signal to heat or cool the space.  Not every office space has its own thermostat, so you may be at the mercy of your neighbor!  The thermostat can be adjusted by about 4 degrees in either direction.  We can provide more specific information upon request on which thermostat controls an office.

6. Every month, Printing & Mail Services prints out and campus mails the attached memo to each and every department.  I have suggested in the interest of cost-cutting, as well as going green, this memo could be emailed to the TOP(or other) list quite easily.  In our office, we actually received 3 copies this month. As an institution which is trying to go green & cutting costs where we can, cutting down on this sort of paper and time waste should be a no-brainer.

The Copier Reminder Memos are sent out monthly to the key operator of each copier. The number of copies produced in this process is minimal and we are looking at methods to issue electronic campus notifications.  If your office is receiving multiple copies, please contact Printing Services as we may have outdated key operator information.