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Campus group vies for energy efficiency

David Cowan, Features Editor

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In order to combat some maintenace costs, Cal State Long Beach will participate in the Green Campus Program, a student-run project that promotes energy efficiency and creates awareness on environmental issues.

“It’s definitely an ongoing project,” said Allie Bussjaeger, a senior psychology major and Green Campus team manager. “Some schools have had this program for over 10 years.”

Green Campus is a branch program of Alliance to Save Energy, founded in 1977. It promotes the adoption of energy efficiency policies that are meaningful, politically viable and implementable. The program currently works with 16 campuses in California, including University California Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and some community colleges. The Alliance recruits, selects and oversees about four interns per campus.

While the program is relatively new to the campus, the small group of Green Campus interns has started working with CSULB to improve energy efficiency.

“We started with HOBO meters, which read when lights are on and off,” said Felix Navarrete, a CSULB student and treasurer for Green Campus.

HOBO energy meters monitor the environmental conditions of a selected area.
Navarrete explains that by running tests on the motion sensors in the classrooms, Green Campus can detect which rooms have not had their lights shut off, thereby exposing a waste of energy.

“At that point we report [the energy issue] to facility management,” Navarrete said.

According to a press release, the annual utility bills for CSULB total more than $7.5 million.

“Some of the long term goals are meeting the CSU and state climate action goals of green house gas reduction,” said Paul Wingco, CSULB energy and sustainability manager in the facilities management department.

“Green Campus is just one way of having CSULB students get involved in energy conservation and energy efficiency,” Wingco said.

The CSULB sustainability website mentions Executive Order 987, which states that “each president, or his/her designee, [must implement] the California State University Board of Trustees’ energy conservation, sustainable building practices, and physical plant management policy. This executive order reaffirms the need to conserve energy in order to achieve the goal originally set in 2001 and reevaluated in 2005. Our new goal is to reduce consumption by 15 percent by the end of FY 2009-2010, as compared to 2003-2004.”
 

“The goal is to promote energy efficiency,” said Jennifer Mendoza, a CSULB student and secretary for Green Campus.

By collecting weekly data, Green Campus can test the function of the heavy energy users on campus and notify facility management, Mendoza said.

As of now, the Green Campus Program will continue to monitor energy usage in the classrooms in preparation for the fall semester, where they will formally interact with students.

“The main focus is reducing energy consumption and educate students,” said Bussjaeger, who also served as Associate Students Inc. Conservation Commissioner last semester.

One of the tactics to get students involved in energy conservation will involve a CSULB residence hall competition to see who can use the least water and power. Green Campus feels it’s particularly important to reach the freshmen, some of whom will be out on their own for the first time.

An event, scheduled to last the entire month of October, will include a grand prize of the night in the USU game center.

The Green Campus Program is also looking into implementing Vending Misers, a vending machine which has a controller with occupancy sensor to conserve energy on refrigerated vending machines.

“We’ve been working with the 49er Shops to test a Vending Miser on campus,” Bussjaeger said. “They’ve approved the 49er Shops.”

Currently, the Green Campus Program is looking for an additional intern and has plans to fill the position by the fall — a position that is likely to fill-up quickly due to the popularity of the green movement.

“The green movement is really big right now,” Mendoza said. “We need to improve the planet to improve ourselves, one way to improve student life is to be a leader, and CSULB is the biggest campus in the CSU.”

Ultimately, the purpose of the Green Campus Program is educating the student population.

“I feel that if you can teach someone that turning off a light or appliance does make a difference then they’ll teach it to someone else,” Navarrete said. “I would love for people to be more aware [of energy conservation].”

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1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840 -- LA-4 201  --  (562) 985-8000.
Campus group vies for energy efficiency