Archive for Friday, April 1, 2011

K-State gearing up to save energy as part of Take Charge Challenge

Kansas State fans wave their arms during a 2009 football game against Kansas University. K-State has mapped out a game plan for helping Manhattan win the Take Charge Challenge against Lawrence.

Kansas State fans wave their arms during a 2009 football game against Kansas University. K-State has mapped out a game plan for helping Manhattan win the Take Charge Challenge against Lawrence.

April 1, 2011

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Never underestimate Kansas State University.

It's a theory held by many Kansas University sports fans and one the rest of Lawrence might want to heed as the Take Charge Challenge heads into its third month.

From doing an energy audit on the president's residence to developing a marketing campaign that features a female superhero and Willie the Wildcat, K-State has mapped out a serious game plan to win.

Since January, Lawrence and Manhattan have been competing to see who can save the most energy. The contest looks at which town is switching light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones, making the most energy-efficiency upgrades to homes and attending the most Take Charge Challenge events.

The winner of the challenge, which will last another six months, receives $100,000 to use toward a renewable energy product.

A scouting report of sorts was done Thursday at K-State's Sustainability Conference, where the university's Director of Sustainability Ben Champion spoke about the hard work being put into the challenge.

Along with the chance to split the $100,000 prize with the city of Manhattan, it was an opportunity to make lasting improvements to the school in terms of energy education and awareness, Champion said.

"I think for K-State, the Take Charge Challenge is just the beginning," Champion said.

Along with Champion, a host of other university leaders are on Manhattan's Take Charge Challenge leadership team, including K-State's first lady Noel Schulz and the university's communications and marketing manager.

The president's residence, a leaky 88-year-old home, recently underwent a home energy audit, which racks up points for Manhattan. The audit found that energy could be saved by sealing up air leaks, improving insulation and installing a programmable thermostat, said Casey Lauer, K-State's director of the energy and environment program.

He estimates that at least 23 percent in energy could be saved.

A greek house has also had an energy audit done and others are considering using the tool. Champion said K-State wants to focus on doing energy audits in the spring and make the upgrades in the summer when the students are gone.

K-State is also replacing street lighting with LEDs and installing light sensors in hallways, restrooms and offices. Through partnerships with local hardware stores, the university is handing out $1-off coupons for compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Perhaps the step Lawrence should be most concerned about is a promotional campaign that will use a female fine arts major as a superhero named Eco-Enforcer, who wears a costume made out of recycled athletic jerseys. Her backup will be Willie the Wildcat.

Of course, Lawrence and KU haven't been slackers. So far, in Lawrence free CFLs were handed at the competition's kick-off in January, and local home energy auditors are swamped with work.

But whether Lawrence is any match for the Eco-Enforcer has yet to be determined.

Comments

gr 4 years ago

"The contest looks at which town is switching light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones, " "So far, in Lawrence free CFLs were handed at the competition's kick-off in January,"

Spread the mercury everywhere!

Has anyone calculated how much mercury is in the lights and then if you multiply that out over all the lightbulbs, how much hazardous waste has been distributed over the country? Fantastic if one needs to dispose of it without costing you.

I wonder if anyone thought of getting rid of hazardous wastes in the water system. I suppose they have. I suppose they have....

Centerville 4 years ago

Then calculate how much energy is required to dispose of CFLs, between the taping and the plastic bags and the driving it to the hazmat site. Not to mention all the vacuuming and the extra vac bags. Oh, and having to air out your house for 4-5 hours and, if it's summer or winter, to then bring your house temp back into a livable range. Plus the cost (and manufacturing energy) of installing all-new CFL-friendly fixtures. Honestly, I suspect that the CFL thing is just an experiment to see how easily we can be pushed around.

tonytiger 4 years ago

PLEASE! Do a little research before you give out all the wrong information. I hope no one uses a vacuum to clean up mercury in any form. The mercury in a cfl is 1/10 the amount in the coal burned to power the standard bulb for the same number of hours. CFL bulbs have the same bases as standard bulbs. New fixtures will contain fluorscent bulbs not cfl's; or better yet LED bulbs.

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