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Four simple steps to a more sustainable campus


Greenhouse gases, polar ice caps and global warming are regular news items these days. As we become more concerned with the size of our carbon footprints, so grows an increasing interest in alternative energy sources that can facilitate long-term energy sustainability.

The California State University's Executive Order 987, issued in 2006, implemented several energy mandates, among them that campuses reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by the end of fiscal year 2009-10, that the CSU set a goal of procuring 20 percent of electricity needs through renewable sources by 2010, and that campus construction be undertaken with consideration for optimum energy utilization.

Executive edicts notwithstanding, all campus employees can play a role in working toward sustainability goals. It starts with a change of mind-set. Here are four simple steps:

- Shut down: Were each employee to turn off his or her desktop computer at the end of the work day, it would save 1,986 kilowatt hours per year per person, or $169. If all approximately 3,000 employees turned off their computers before going home, the savings would be 6 million kilowatthours and more than $500,000 per year.

- Lights out: Many offices have motion sensors that turn off lights automatically. If your office has a sensor and you notice your office lights are still on when you've been gone a while, please report the problem to Facilities Services via the online work order system or by calling Facilities Customer Service at ext. 86242. If your office doesn't have motionsensors, please turn off the lights when you leave for any period of time.

- Mind the temperature: Executive Order 987 states that space temperatures should be set at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter. Many campus space temperatures are centrally controlled and set between 70 and 74 degrees. If, however, the thermostat is adjustable in your office or area, set it at no more that 70 degrees in winter and no less than 74 degrees in the summer.

- Bundle up: You shouldn't have to throw on a wool trenchcoat or anything, but it is wise to wear thick socks and layers in winter. Space heaters, as mandated by Executive Order 987, can be used only in the event of a heating system failure or with medical cause. In the case of medical necessity, a doctor's note must be provided to Human Resources. When allowed, the heaters must meet the requirements of the state fire marshal regarding placement, electrical connection, UL listing and presence of a tip switch. Many have been found that do not meet this criteria.