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Turning down the heat, turning up the savings

With energy costs hitting record highs, Dartmouth is embarking on a major campus-wide energy conservation project. The College hopes to save between $200,000 and $300,000 in energy costs this year, while reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

"We are seeing a 45 percent increase in our fuel costs for the months ahead, which will likely be in excess of $2.5 million," said President Wright in his state of the College speech last month. According to John Gratiot, Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations and Management, "this means we need to redouble our efforts to conserve. If simple measures are adopted institution wide, the savings in our consumption of natural resources will be substantial."

"High heating oil costs will have a significant impact on our budget," said Wright, noting that Dartmouth has been a leader in conservation and recycling. "Executive Vice President Adam Keller, John Gratiot, and Sustainability Coordinator Jim Merkle have established an excellent initial set of conservation practices," Wright said. "I hope that faculty, students and staff can offer suggestions about what more we can do."

Some of the conservation measures that have already been outlined include:

Heating
All possible Dartmouth buildings will be heated to 68 degrees in the winter. Where appropriate, temperatures will be rolled back an additional five degrees at night, with 10 degree setbacks during the winter break.

Computers
Faculty and staff are being asked to shut down computers at night, when possible, and turn off computer monitors when leaving the workspace for a significant length of time (screen savers do not provide any reduction in energy use).

Lighting
Measures include reducing lighting in over-lit areas to meet College standards, converting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent fixtures and installing motion sensors where possible.

Additional conservation measures include replacing old windows with new double or triple glazed panes, confirming the operation of all HVAC control systems, adding insulation where needed and making sure all exterior door closers are operating properly.

As energy savings increase, Wright announced that the College will donate a portion of the savings to local service agencies and offer financial support to some of Dartmouth's employees in need. "As we maintain our position as a preeminent institution of higher education, we also need to be a good neighbor and a good place to work," he said.

By JOEL AALBERTS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08