Behind the Scenes in Res Halls: Conserving Energy

"If we ourselves, now, expend just a bit more mental energy, pay a little more attention, be curious about everything we do and how can we truly do it better, then couple this thoughtful approach and behavior with results-driven physical work, we can significantly conserve our natural resources, protect our environment and ultimately leave this world in better shape for those who come after us," notes Tom Macchi, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning. "For those who do come after us, they will not remember us as individuals, but they will collectively benefit from the fruits of our labor, our caring and our heartfelt concern for them."

  • After students leave each summer, facilities staff recycle their old clothes, books, left-behind furniture and canned food to various charities.
  • Not much noticed, the staff makes the extra effort to personally deliver waste to the curb each morning before the business day begins. "We then transport our various refuse materials in our stake body truck, rain or shine, in bitter cold or oppressively hot weather, to our trash and recycling compactors," Macchi notes. "This practice, and additional personal handling of all clear bags, not only saves the University great amounts of money otherwise paid to our outside trash haulers via dumpster pickups, but it also allows us to monitor, control and insure in real-time that all recyclable materials are being recycled, and trash ends up where it belongs, in the trash. This has significantly increased our recyclable yield. By limiting the number of costly trips to campus, our contracted trash haulers make to our campus; it also reduces our carbon foot print within the community as a whole.
  • Arcadia participated in the National Recycle mania contest for the first time last year and will continue to promote this program in bigger ways in the years to come.
  • Physical plant installed new high-quality low-flow shower heads that feel like normal showers not mist sprayers.
  • The University is in the process of retrofitting all sinks with low flow washers to further assist with the desired goal of additional water use reduction.
  • Heat reflective white roofing was installed on Heinz.
  • Insulation continues to be installed in stairwells and below third floor deck areas.
  • LED (Light emitting diode) lighting was installed in all hallway areas in Heinz Hall and Thomas Hall, with the lighting controlled by motion sensors.
  • Almost all incandescent light bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescents.
  • All residence hall florescent fixtures have been retrofitted to T-8 lighting from inefficient T-12 bulbs used in the past.
  • Original casement windows were replaced with thermo-pane glass windows.
  • Not having air conditioning in some residence halls saves energy and dollars. "We do maintain our window screens, so outside ventilation is still available upon demand," Macchi adds.
  • Automated electronic thermostats that control heating and cooling loads have been installed at Oak Summit Apartments and other areas on campus that have remote air conditioning units.
  • Low-flow power flush toilets, sinks and urinals (to include electronic flush valves) are being installed in place of broken or defective units.
  • When not in use, buildings are shut off almost completely, as turning off the power is the greatest saver of energy.
  • "We have begun replacing large mulched areas adjacent to our residential buildings with perennial plants, green ivy, additional trees and other plant material that reduce the yearly cost of mulching and weed control, with the added plus that these plantings give us an additional thermal barrier further reducing heat islands," Macchi adds.
  • Director of Administrative Services Mimi Bassetti is working with vending machine providers to replace old machines with higher energy efficient units.
  • Dining Services is introducing recyclable take-out containers, replacing the Styrofoam cups and Styrofoam trays used in the past.

"Simply properly maintaining all mechanical systems though out the year, insuring that they are tuned up and operating at peak efficiency is a green contribution," he notes. "Fixing all drippy faucets, leaky pipes in mechanical rooms, and replacing old pumps with high efficiency pumps, also contributes green. We have installed small energy efficient hot water heaters for RA apartments to supply hot water in small quantities when students are not in residence, allowing us to take the larger gas fired hot water heaters off line. We have installed insulation for steam/hot water boilers and adjacent piping to significantly reduce heat loss, and we have begun replacing plastic vertical blinds with old fashioned curtains to prevent cold drafts and heat loss a s well as solar gain in large window areas."

 

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