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May 14, 2012
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$15,000 grant helps funds energy dashboards

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa - When Slippery Rock University students return to residence halls A-F in August, it will be easier for them to learn about energy conservation. The University has received a $15,000 grant from the West Penn Power Sustainability Fund to purchase six energy dashboard touch screens that track energy consumption and provide energy conservation education.

The 32-inch touch screens will be installed over summer in the main lobbies of the buildings, said Scott Albert, SRU director of facilities and planning.

The dashboards provide tips about conserving energy, such as taking shorter showers, turning off lights and computers and lowering the thermostat, Albert said.

More than 2,200 students live in buildings A-F, making the halls an easy choice for the dashboards.

“We are getting to the point on campus where we can have the most impact on energy usage by educating people who use the buildings to change their behavior,” Albert said. “Where is the largest concentration of student energy consumers at any one time during the day? In the residence halls.”

Albert said students could make a big difference through small steps.

“If you talk to some of our students, some students take two to three, 30-to-45 minute showers a day. All the students in A-F can set the temperature in their room. If you set the air conditioning one degree warmer or the heat one degree cooler it can have a 1-3 percent impact on how much energy that building uses.”

Students could lessen electricity usage by downsizing room amenities, he said. “Some students bring a refrigerator from home when every room in A-F has a refrigerator.”

Albert also obtained a $20,000 SRU Green Fund grant for the energy measuring system. The grant applications were submitted by Albert, Kevin Currie, director of residence life, and the University’s energy conservation committee.

If successful in meeting a 3 percent energy usage savings projection, the University could save an estimated $1.5 million over 10 years, according to the project’s grant application.

The dashboards will monitor electricity, water and water residue from steam heat, called condensate. In tracking University energy usage, Albert said, students will be given pre- and post-surveys to see if the dashboards result in energy reduction in the halls.

The last month of the fall semesters will see a “dorm war” competition as students living in the halls compete to see which residence hall can reduce consumption the most, Albert said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.