By M. Francis Mirro
Enough energy to power 16 homes, which amounts to over 180,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, has already been saved by the University at Albany’s Energy Campaign.
UAlbany’s Office of Sustainability has reached the midpoint on this year’s campaign, and so far the energy saved is more than double the total from last year’s campaign at this point.
The Energy Campaign has been a continued effort by the university at large, the Office of Sustainability, and ResLife to measure and actively cut down on how much energy is used throughout campus since 2007.
Originally, the survey only covered the residential halls, until it was discovered that two-thirds of the campus' total electricity use came from the academic buildings, at which point, in 2009, the campaign extended to the podium.
Top performers this year are Colonial Quad, Arts and Sciences, Chemistry, and the Performing Arts Center.
“We’re currently around half way through our goal of cutting down around 10 percent of our electricity in the uptown and downtown campuses,” said Mary Ellen Mallia, UAlbany’s Director of Sustainability.
The efforts of the participating students and staff do not go unnoticed.
“Buildings that meet certain targets are entitled to money from our programing fund,” said Mallia. “We use that to fund RAs who want to put on sustainability-centered programs.”
Funding also brings in ecologically minded speakers and other green-friendly activities and classes.
“Vampire energy” remains Mallia’s greatest enemy.
These are the little bits of electricity you use when you’re not actually using a device, but it’s still plugged in.
“Things like leaving a desktop monitor on with the computer off,” Mallia says. “Or keeping your phone charger plugged in. It doesn’t seem like anything. But in the long run, all those little things add up to a lot.”
If you would like to get involved with sustainability initiatives at UAlbany, please visit https://www.albany.edu/gogreen.