In conjunction with CPS Energy, Trinity University joined other institutions by agreeing to conserve energy over peak seasons last summer. The program, CPS Automated Demand, helped the school conserve energy and electricity, goals the University is keen to acheive.
Although having only participated in the program for two months, with the software in place, Trinity looks to participate fully for a second year. For the school’s participation in the program, CPS Energy, the largest municipally- owned utility company in the United States, awarded the university a check for over $5,600 and a crystal Energy Saver award. Director of campus planning and sustainability John Greene stated that this program will help the company better control temperatures and efficiently manage energy use.
“If they [CPS] sense there is a peak demand, specifically during the summer season, they will basically take control of our chillers and air conditioning temporarily through an automated program to reduce output,” said Greene.
This program with CPS comes as a larger plan for sustainability by the university, with aims to reduce waste but to further manage energy programs to be as efficient as possible.
According to the university’s webpage on sustainability, the school strives “to reduce its global footprint in energy and recycling, developing ways to protect its environment in research and writing, and training students to carry forward the work of making tomorrow greener than today.”
This goal echoes among faculty and students alike, with programs like the recent cooperation with CPS showing the desire for efficiency and energy management. With the recent renovations of various dorms and CSI, Greene is hopeful for further progress in sustainability and operating efficiency.
“We are getting more and more data these days that allows us to really see how our energy is being used and to manage it more efficiently and strategically,” Greene said. “Obviously we want to control our costs, and the biggest way we can do that is operating efficiency.”
In terms of efficiency, CSI has received one LEED already, along with Miller and Calvert dorms receiving the awards in 2009 and 2012, respectively. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an award the University, given recent renovations, is looking to receive more of.
“A big part of these awards is designing campus buildings for energy efficiency,” Greene said. “We also hope to get another one for the renovated Witt-Winn.”
To students as well, the issue of sustainability of utmost importance, not only in maintaining cost efficiency, but also in doing our part to be conscious citizens.
To sophomore Zachary Galvin, the idea of energy conservation is something all students should not only be aware of, but should engage in.
“I think it is important that Trinity maintains energy efficiency because, as a decent- sized institution, we use quite a bit of energy,” Galvin said. “And, while efficiency does help save the university money, it is also important that we all do our part in sustaining our environment.”
On top of maintaining good programs for sustainability, these steps can be ways to get students involved and informed. To first-year and geosciences major Yvette Muniz, the idea of energy conservation not only benefits the society in continuing efficiency, but also in creating conscious citizens and engaging students.
“I think it is important for the university to strive for programs on energy efficiency as a way to educate students on sustainability and to get them thinking about all the little things people can do in terms of conserving energy,” Muniz said.
With all the importance dedicated to energy conservation and efficiency, the university is eager to build on its reputation as a leader in sustainability, something set in motion by former university president John R. Brazil in his 2007 American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The commitment, still honored today, strives to ensure the university, “its practices and operations are sound, socially constructive, and economically viable” while maintaining Trinity’s “commitment to environmental sustainability.