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Energy Savings is ‘Watt’ You Need to Know

Members of the JALC Green Committee, along with President Dr. Mike Dreith, are pictured next to the new Energy Dashboard, next to the G Building main entrance. The Green Committee hopes that when people see how money can be saved through energy conservation there will be more of an effort made to think green. Pictured front row from left are: Phil Minnis, Sherry Sullivan, Doris Malone, Sara Foster, Adi Wilson, Debra Russell; back row: Brad McCormick, Scott Hunziker, Lee Rawson, Tim Gibson, Dr. Mike Dreith and Chris Naegele. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Members of the JALC Green Committee, along with President Dr. Mike Dreith, are pictured next to the new Energy Dashboard, next to the G Building main entrance. The Green Committee hopes that when people see how money can be saved through energy conservation there will be more of an effort made to think green. Pictured front row from left are: Phil Minnis, Sherry Sullivan, Doris Malone, Sara Foster, Adi Wilson, Debra Russell; back row: Brad McCormick, Scott Hunziker, Lee Rawson, Tim Gibson, Dr. Mike Dreith and Chris Naegele. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Something as simple as shutting off the lights when not in the office or turning off the computer at the end of the work day could result in a big financial savings at the end of the month.

That’s the message John A. Logan College’s Green Committee is sending to employees this week as part of its Behavior Change for Energy Efficiency campaign. Logan, along with three other community colleges in Illinois – Southwestern Illinois, College of Lake County and Prairie State – received a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network last May so that an electronic dashboard could be installed next to the main entrance of the “G” building on campus, where it will monitor energy usage in real time over the next 60 days.

The grant also allowed for some additional technology like energy-smart power strips for computers and vending misers that make vending machines go dark when not in use.

The college’s contribution to the campaign was not financial, but rather involved manpower. Maintenance workers and computer technicians lent their assistance to the installation of the dashboard.

“This project came out of an idea that if people actually see energy use with this dashboard, maybe they will modify their behavior,” said Tim Gibson, JALC’s Sustainability Coordinator. “It always helps to turn off a few items that you don’t essentially need and make sure to turn off the lights at the end of the day. We are hoping to save anywhere from 3-to-5 percent on our energy bill at the end of each month and that would be huge.”

JALC Sustainability Coordinator Tim Gibson breaks down the functions of the newly installed Energy Dashboard located in the G Building main entrance. The dashboard will monitor energy usage in real time. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

JALC Sustainability Coordinator Tim Gibson breaks down the functions of the newly installed Energy Dashboard located in the G Building main entrance. The dashboard will monitor energy usage in real time. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

JALC President, Dr. Mike Dreith, said the Behavior Change for Energy Efficiency Campaign is great not only because it’s environmentally sensitive, but because it’s also economically sensitive.

“We are constantly looking for ways to save money as we go through our budgets,” he said. “And the best way to do that is through efforts like this. I think it’s really neat because it shows how it can work in this building. And if it does – which I’m sure it will because people will become sensitive to it – there is no reason why we can’t do this all over campus.”

Dreith said JALC ranks third out of 48 community colleges statewide when it comes to effective use of energy.

“We’re incredibly sensitive when it comes to construction projects, for example, to make sure that we’re using not only the right kind of energy, but the right kind of installation…the whole ball of wax.”