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Campus Conservation Nationals

Campus Conservation Nationals 2013In February of 2013, The Office of Sustainability partnered with CofC Residence Life to participate in our first nationwide electricity reduction competition called Campus Conservation Nationals. It is the largest energy reduction competition between colleges and universities in the world! It was so successful that we are going to “Do It In The Dark” again this year. The Competition will starts February 9th and ends on February 28th during which time all residence halls and houses on campus will compete against each other to see who can reduce the MOST electricity! Our results at CofC will be compared nationally to all participating colleges and universities. The campus competition is a fun, educational opportunity that challenges students and staff to improve our school's carbon emissions and strengthen our campus culture of sustainability. Residents will compete for the greatest percent-reduction in each building, including Residence Halls, Greek Houses, and Historic Houses. This competition aims to promote awareness on reducing energy consumption and hopes to engage students in life-long behavior changes that will extend well past the competition window! 

Lighting Upgrades

In the Fall of 2013, incoming freshman and returning students were welcomed by Residence Life and Housing to newly renovated historic homes on Bull, Coming, and Greenway Street. Included in the renovations were new LED light fixtures and bulbs as part of a joint venture between Residence Life and Housing and the Office of Sustainability. Though a relatively new technology, LEDs have already shown their cost and energy savings in a variety of commercial, industrial, and residential contexts. The two main advantages of LEDs over traditional incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs is that they last an incredible 50,000 hours, eight times longer than CFLs, and they run at a lower wattage than any other currently available fixtures. With the potential for keeping the lights on for longer and cheaper, Residence Life and Housing will be transitioning to more efficient LED fixtures and bulbs. The Office of Sustainability is collaborating with Residence Life to gather and analyze energy-use data in these historic homes to build the case for expanding the LED program in the near future. See our LED White Paper and stay tuned for our findings.

Vending Miser Installation

Vending MisersWe may hardly notice them until we're thirsty or hungry yet vending machines consume enormous amounts of energy and cost hundreds to operate annually. The College has over 60 vending machines around campus. This availability is great, but they may be costing the College around $25,000 a year in electricity costs. The Office of Sustainability has taken this as an opportunity to investigate ways of saving the College money and lessening our carbon foot print. After gathering data on vending machine energy use over the course of a semester, students then attached a number of VendingMiser energy saving devices. Vending misers use a passive motion sensor to detect activity around the machine. The Vending miser powers down the vending machine after 15 minutes of inactivity, thereby using less energy and saving the College up to 25% in utility costs. Because of the success of the pilot study, vending misers were installed on all 60+ machines around campus in August, 2013 with generous support from the College and our partners in the community. Following the success of the Vendint Miser on campus drink machines, another pilot study was conducted to check the feasibility of placing Vending Misers on snack machines. Check out the results from the study here!

Green Roof

Green Roof PanelsWith ECOllective funds, the College has installed a small pilot green roof on the fifth floor roof of Liberty Residence Hall. A green roof is a vegetated system installed on a roof's surface to reduce utilities and maintenance costs, delay storm water runoff, filter out air and water pollution, and mitigate the urban heat island effect. The Office is exploring the feasibility of expanding the existing green roof and adding additional installations around campus. Before moving forward to pursue a full-scale campus green roof, interns at the office conducted research to test whether roof surface cooling, one of the key benefits of a green roof installation, was relevant in our campus community. In the summer of 2012, an intern constructed a three-panel experimental model that measured temperatures underneath green, black, and white surfaces. Temperature data collected over the 2012/2013 academic year demonstrated significant green-roof surface cooling and allowed us to consider a larger installation.