Going green can save some ‘green’

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By Jesse Garwick

Staff writer

 

Energy efficiency and being environmentally friendly has been a big issue in recent years. Many groups are constantly trying to conserve energy, help the environment, and save money.

In an effort to help in the endeavor to be energy-efficient, DMACC started a program called Operation Green in 2009.

Operation green is an initiative to create awareness within the DMACC campuses about the financial and environmental impact of our existence. It had a good start-up, but the website updates gradually slowed down. Recently, the site has been revised and is in the process of being upgraded.

DMACC contracted with a company called Cenergistic in March 2012 for consultation on behavioral changes to reduce energy consumption. This has saved over $125,000 as of January 2013.

There have been many changes implemented to the DMACC campuses. The new light switches in most of the buildings have motion sensors that turn lights off when there is no one in the room.

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Several buildings on campus, including building 24, use geothermal energy instead of natural gas to heat it, recycling containers have been placed in most of the building around campuses.

Jay Tiefenthaler, DMACC energy specialist, is in charge of operation green and the energy conservation program.

“My position as DMACC Energy Specialist is to work with Cenergistic to implement a variety of energy-saving programs and behavioral changes including daily shutdown of personal office electronics, changes to occupied and unoccupied temperature settings, and educational awareness on how to be more energy-efficient at work and at home.,“ Tiefenthaler said.

DMACC is currently an EnergyStar partner. The logo is on the lower right of the DMACC website, and clicking it will take you to the main page of operation green. Having the logo on the site signifies that DMACC is making the conscious extra effort to conserve energy.

Although these things do save time, energy, and money, students do not have to depend solely on them to save energy. Even something as simple as turning your own computer off when you leave a computer lab can save energy.

Turning the light off when being the last one leaving the room is a great energy saver. Even the bathroom light can be shut off, since the sensor turns it on when someone enters. If each room saves ten cents a day, multiply that by the number of rooms on every DMACC campus, and it adds up to quite a bit of savings. Any money saved by DMACC can be used to better the campus, so students saving money for DMACC benefit themselves as well.

Other ways to help would be to properly use the blue recycling bins. Any time a student has paper or other recyclable material; they should put it in the recycle bins instead of disposing it in the trash. Every little bit helps to save.

“The students are eventually going to become their own energy bill payers,” Tiefenthaler said. “Getting in good energy-saving practice now can get them in the right mindset. Money that is saved on energy stays with them.”

Make sure to recycle newspapers when you are done reading them. Put it in the correct recycling bins.

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