Electricity

Electric Use Trend from 1994 to 2010

Every three years average kWh use increased by 100,000 kWh per month since 2005. Since that peak, annual kWh has dropped over 12% in spite of the addition of two new dorms, the additional equipment which supports them and other renovations.

Download a larger .pdf image of the chart [pdf].

Demand for electricity has increased fairly dramatically over the past two decades. The advent of electronic gadgets and computers has required more power than building designers ever dreamed of when most of the buildings were constructed. Add to that building code requirements for HVAC systems, smart classrooms and a general expectation of increased comfort levels (as well as architecturally pleasant lighting) and we have all the makings of a much higher electric bill. The chart below illustrates the impact of a fairly aggressive period of new construction and renovation. To off-set some of the impact of this increase, Swarthmore College, at the urging of the student group Earthlust, made a commitment to obtain a substantial portion of its power requirements by purchasing wind power credits and other alternative energy resources. Currently that commitment is 14,000 MegaWatt hours which represents 100% of the College's annual kilowatt-hour needs. It's particularly gratifying that with carefully monitoring of our loads with our energy management system we have been able to reduce our kilowatt-hour use by 17% in the past five years. Real time information on our electric load.