Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Environmental Savings

Environmental savings are important cost savings and good for the earth. Taking advantage of “green” initiatives also demonstrates that a college or university is a good “corporate” citizen and socially responsible. Environmental initiatives are also a great way to engage the student body in promoting and identifying ways to reduce energy uses.

Reduce hard copies of memos and notices by one-half

Limit photocopying to black-and-white and double-sided

Use electronic mail and encourage discretion in printing out mail

Reduce paper waste

Recycle paper

Eliminate cover sheets wherever possible

Install computerized thermostats and light control panels

Limit publication of academic senate and staff development notices to once a month

Evaluate all printing requirements and eliminate overprinting

Use both sides of paper

Use only white paper because colored paper costs more and cannot be recycled as easily

Provide locations for aluminum, paper, and glass recycling, and resell collected items

Reuse paper in laser printers where possible

Install aerators on faucets

Install low water usage toilets

Install solar panels over parking lots

Use solar energy, and promote demonstration and prototype facilities which may be eligible for outside funding

Consolidate classes in buildings to conserve on heating costs

Have weekend classes limited to a few buildings to reduce operating costs

Hire energy consultant to achieve energy savings that exceed consultant costs in first year

Install energy-efficient light bulbs

Shut down facilities during breaks

Turn off lights, heater, and air conditioners when nobody is in the room

Turn off hear and air conditioning from Friday noon through Monday morning

Have residential halls form environmental committees to promote energy savings ideas (e.g., turn the water tap off when brushing teeth, turn off lights when leaving a room, shorten shower times, avoid plastic water bottles that are only used once, activate computers’ “snooze control,” or use cold water for washing clothes)

Close curtains or window treatments to block out the sun’s heat on hot days – typically the south side of a building

Open curtains or window treatments to allow the sun’s heat to warm the interior during cold days – typically the south side of a building

Open windows at night if the outdoor temperature is cool – allow for cross-ventilation of rooms – and then close the windows in the morning to seal in the cool air for the day

Commit to a cooling schedule, frequently available at utility companies that offer money back for allowing them to turn your air condition on/off during peak-use periods (typically the heat of the day)

Turn up the thermostat for comfort and energy savings – air conditioning at 78 degrees; educate users to resist the urge to drop the temperature for a quick cool, which taxes the unit

Schedule heating-producing periods for using dishwashers, ovens, and dryers in the early mornings or evenings rather than afternoons

Use grills and microwaves on excessively hot days

Clear areas of waste around central air-conditioners or heat pumps

Pay bills on line (which saves trees and staff time and reduces postage)

Wash linens and towels in cold water

Turn down the thermostat when the weather gets chilly; minimize individual carbon footprint by wearing sweat shirts or sweaters instead of cranking up the heat

Activate all computers’ “snooze controls” on campus

These ideas were brought to you by iNPOINT Advisors who recently co-authored the book, Cut it Out! Save for Today, Build for Tomorrow, published by the IFMA Foundation

I was born upon thy bank, river,
My blood flows in they stream,
And though meanderest forever
At the bottom of my dream.
-Henry David Thoreau, I Was Born upon They Bank, River

KH Consulting Group (KH) started this Know-How site in 2009 to create a forum for sharing ideas on effectively enhancing revenues and containing costs in higher education in the near and longer term.

KH has posted more than 500 ideas. You can join the forum at:

Note: The ideas shared are not prescriptive and will not work in all situations or at all institutions. Some of the ideas are tactical – quick victories to save money in easy ways. Others are strategic, requiring careful analysis before implementing.

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