Yesterday was Earth Day, and it was also the day results were announced and winners were recognized in the now-annual competition among KU campus buildings to save the most energy. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think those two things might be connected.
Anyway, this is the second year for the KU "Lights Out" contest, which is sponsored by the KU Center for Sustainability as well as the Overland Park firm Energy Solutions Professionals, which conducted a $25 million energy savings audit for KU.
The results, per Tim O'Kane, marketing director for ESP: Nunemaker Center, the home of the KU Honors Program, won the contest with an energy savings of 31 percent compared with the week before the competition started. Lindley Hall, headquarters of the geology and geography departments, finished second with 19.7 percent savings, and Smith Hall, home of the religious studies department, came in third with 19.4 percent.
Among the 14 buildings that took part in the contest, most of which are used by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the average savings was 9.2 percent, O'Kane reported. Those savings, he said, eliminated about 157,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the six-week period of the contest. That's equivalent to the yearly emissions of 15 vehicles (or 8,000 gallons of gasoline), or the electricity used in a year by 10.7 homes.
Your Heard on the Hill energy savings tip for the day: turn off the lights wherever you are, turn your thermostat down low and bundle up so you can offset the electricity you use when you send your KU news tips to email@example.com today.
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KU’s second annual energy-savings competition among campus buildings is under way, and things will surely be heating up as it continues through the next few weeks. I say that because I assume the buildings taking part won’t set their thermostats one notch below 76 degrees when temperatures pick up here soon.
KU’s “Lights Out” contest started last year, and it’s sponsored KU’s Center for Sustainability as well as the Overland Park firm Energy Solutions Professionals, which conducted a $25 million energy savings audit for KU starting in 2009.
Three buildings took part last year, and Bailey Hall took the title by cutting its energy use by 17.2 percent from the same period the year before.
This year’s contest started last week and runs through April 17, and participation is up to 14 buildings, mostly used by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, per a KU release. The winner will receive the rights to a traveling trophy, which in my imagination is shaped like a giant compact fluorescent light bulb, for the next year. The winner will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.
The Center for Sustainability is training students, staff and faculty on how to reduce their energy usage, and some tips are available online.
So, in that spirit, after you send your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for today, make sure to shut down your computer before you leave.
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On the same day that a Kansas Senate committee cut $10 million for a new KU Medical Center education building from its budget plan, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little testified to a different committee Monday, this one in the state House of Representatives.
KU posted her testimony, which was before the House Education Budget Committee, online. You can read it for a look at how KU is pitching its importance to the state.
Gray-Little runs through a lot of the developments, initiatives and accomplishments that were listed in her "State of the University" video a couple weeks back. There's perhaps an additional emphasis on some programs that reach out to various parts of the state — for instance, the School of Business RedTire program that matches rural small-business owners with recent graduates who can take the reins, ensuring those businesses don't fade away.
One other thing I noticed: Gray-Little reported that an energy-savings effort, conducted as part of a $25 million contract with an Overland Park firm, has saved the university about $3 million so far. KU may have reported that figure elsewhere, but this is the first time I've seen it.
The last time we reported on the effort, done with the help of Energy Solutions Professionals of Overland Park, was about a year ago. KU had just about finished all the work, a lot of which involved more efficient ventilation of the scientific labs in Malott and Haworth halls, and was waiting to see how much savings would result.
According to Gray-Little's testimony, the contract guarantees a total of $31 million in savings over 15 years.
Obtaining a breakdown of how exactly those savings were achieved is among the items on my to-do list. So let me know if you're curious about any aspect of the energy savings in particular.
Then set your computer to its most energy-friendly power settings possible before you email your KU news tips to email@example.com.