Renewing Fund for Resource Conservation
Established in 2009 by Student Council, after a vote of the student body in favor of using unexpended funds to establish a green revolving-loan fund, the Renewing Fund makes loans that must pay back in dollars saved so that it is replenished. The Sustainability Committee is the body charged with identifying and tracking investments that promote resource conservation, and reporting on the status of the Renewing Fund to the public through its website. The allocations are as follows:
Organic Lawn Care
$5,500 was allocated for Organic Lawn Care for the 5 acres of lawn between Mertz and MacGill Walk. Estimated payback time: 8 years but with vendor participation and help from student groups, may be shorter. Funding provided $3000 for soil testing and planning with a consultant, and $2500 for the marginal increase in costs over the first 2 years. Lawn should reach new level of adaptation within about 5 years. Responsible: Jeff Jabco (Director of Grounds) with liaison Nicole Lewis.
Status update Summer 2011: Water sampling devices installed in the lawn in Summer 2011 are being monitored for evidence of reduced pesticide use. Lawn condition is changing with shift from synthetic fertilizers to compost tea.
Sharples Lighting Efficiency Upgrades
$10,000 was allocated toward replacement of 6-watt decorative lamps in the "Wagon Wheel" architectural fixtures in Sharples Dining Hall with 1.9-watt LED lamps. Estimated payback time 5.5 years based on electricity saved, bulb replacement costs, and labor. The goal is to replace about 1000 of the 2000 bulbs in 2010 using this allocation plus $6000 from the Lorax Fund and about $8000 from the Carbon-Free Alumni Weekend fund, for a total of $24,000 toward the estimated $48,000 total cost. Every other fixture would undergo bulb replacements in early 2010, with hopes to do the other half when more funds become available in 2011 or 2012. Responsible: Ralph Thayer.
Status update Spring 2012: In the final phase the remaining 432 lamps in the upper rings of the dining hall fixtures were replaced in March, 2012, completing the project for a total of 1,489 lamps and an estimated kWh reduction of 18,652 kWh annually. The project was accomplished with in-house and student labor and the LED lamps were purchased for less than originally estimated, reducing the actual project cost to $25,455. $10,000 was returned to the Green Initiatives Loan Fund In June of 2011 from the utilities budget in anticipation of reductions in operating costs.
Fluorescent Bulb Efficiency Upgrades
$10,000 has been allocatd toward the replacement of T-12, 40-watt fluorescent lamps with 28-watt T-8 bulbs in fixtures all over campus. Estimated payback time: less than 2 years based on electricity savings. Responsible: Ralph Thayer.
Status update January 2012: 678 T-12 lamps and 339 ballasts were retrofitted to existing fixtures in the lower level of McCabe Library. The replacement lamp was a T-8 Long Life with electronic ballasts replacing the old magnetic ballasts. In addition circuits and switches were installed such that specific book shelf areas would be lighted only when the timed switch was pushed. We have tied the circuits into our energy management system so we can track the patterns of use and potentially repeat the strategy on other floors. If we had not added the switch capability the savings based on hours of operation would have been 80,456 kWh annually. With the switching, we estimate it could be as high as 125,000 kWh annually. We anticipate a 3.9 year payback on the $31,000 investment. The longer payback period is a result of contracting the work out rather than doing the project in-house.
Intallation of Light Level Sensors
$3,000 was allocated toward installation of light-sensing switches in hallways/foyer areas with large window openings. The hall lights would turn on when natural light fell below a set threshold. Payback time is estimated at several years, but would depend on location. This allocation should fund approximately 12 such installations, which performance can be tracked as an experiment. Responsible: Ralph Thayer and Carr Everbach (for performance quantification).
Status update January 2012: A list of promising locations has been identified but an installer is being sought.
Installation of Occupancy Sensors
$5,000 was allocated toward installation of occupancy sensors/switches in bathrooms. Bathrooms that either have no light switch or have lights that are often left on will be first to be retrofitted with occupancy sensors. Along with sensor/switch installation, a signage campaign will seek to involve occupants in increasing personal responsibility for manually turning off light switches. Estimated payback time: 3 years. Responsible: Ralph Thayer.
Status update January 2012: No installer has been found to advance this project. Calculating payback savings will be a challenge since we do not have records on many locations' current light use. Earthlust and Green Advisors have been asked to help with a signage campaign to encourage users to turn lights off when they leave the bathrooms.
Laundry Drying Lockers
$4,000 has been alllocated for drying lockers in dormitory laundry rooms. An alternative to clotheslines or drying racks, large lockers with louvered doors that close will be installed at
several test locations on campus. Corrugated aluminum pipes from existing electric dryers to the outside will be directed through bottom of the closets to supply them with waste heat, and suction from rising hot air will ensure sufficient circulation. Estimated payback time from saved electricity (reduced use of electric dryers): 5 years. Responsible: Ralph Thayer and Carr Everbach (system design).
Status update January 2012: One drying locker was installed in Wharton A/B laundry room. It was constructed by the College carpenter in his spare time and therefore has a low production cost. Quantification of performance to be assessed Spring 2012.
Vending Mizers and Can Crushers
Any unallocated funds shall be directed towards vending machine issues ("Vending Mizers" that turn off internal lights; machines that crush cans and produce a receipt) or other good ideas, in consultation with Student Council. Responsible: Ralph Thayer and Student Council president.
Status update 16 January 2010: Linda McDougall is investigating the Vending Mizers and Ralph Thayer is looking into can-crushers. Student Council needs to produce a list of other ideas, recognizing the need for the ideas to pay back the fund monetarily. One possibility is to examine the tradeoffs between paper towel dispensers and hand driers in bathrooms.