College Cuts Energy Costs, Contributes to Relief Efforts
May 11, 2006
Mass. -- Like many institutions around
the country, Wellesley College has set energy conservation
goals this year. With heating and electrical costs soaring,
increased efforts to stop waste and conserve resources
have seen outstanding results over the past months on campus.
From May 1-7, a special effort targeted residence halls’ electrical
use, with a competition and prize for energy savings.
“We are going to take the money we would have put into the
winning residence hall’s pizza party and put it toward one
of the ongoing Katrina relief projects that are such an important
legacy of this year’s student work,” explained Director
of Physical Plant Peter Zuraw as the competition to save electricity
The results were even better than organizers had hoped.
“We had expected a 4% savings over our historic target based
on all of the effort to date,” said Zuraw. “We did
almost 1.3% better than that at 5.3% In real numbers, the additional
savings this week from everyone's effort was about 8,000 kilowatt
hours. That is approximately the energy use of a typical Massachusetts
home for one year. That is great work.”
on to describe the savings from a Wellesley point of view: “If all 2,300 students here watched a DVD on 2,300
brand new Apple laptops for 31.5 hours straight, we’d almost
use that much energy,” he said.
The benefit to Hurricane Katrina victims, in which Wellesley aimed
to donate $150 for each percent of the new savings, translates
into a $200 donation toward relief efforts based on the 1.3% cut.
Wellesley senior and House Presidents Council President Kate Derrick
and other students spearheaded the effort, including sending daily
e-mail reminders and energy-saving tips, such as using natural
rather than artificial light and turning off lights when rooms
are not in use.
“The energy effort came about last semester as Pete Zuraw
and Kate Salop, of the Sustainability Advisory Committee, worked
with myself and House Presidents Council, WEED (Wellesley Energy
and Environmental Defense) and College Government to decrease student
energy consumption,” explained Derrick. “We hoped that
a movement led by peers would be more effective in getting the
word out to students about energy sustainability. From the start,
we knew that many students care about the issue of saving energy,
but might not have been aware about ways that they could have decreased
their own consumption in small ways.”
Derrick met with former College Government President Lindsey Boylan,
former WEED President Phoebe Poole and current WEED President Samantha
Tackeff throughout the year to formulate ideas on how to increase
awareness. She also worked with Zuraw on the idea of promoting
a week-long energy campaign.
“As an incentive, we hoped to give students a chance to
contribute not only to the environment, but also to a charitable
cause, such as Hurricane Katrina Relief,” Derrick said. “We're
very happy with the savings that we had last week and it shows
that even the smallest effort from students can make a huge difference.”
In addition, Wellesley joined in a nationwide effort this spring
called RecycleMania 2006, in which college campuses worked to increase
We recycled more paper and cardboard in the first two months
of this semester than we did all of last semester,” Zuraw
reported. “And that was our goal: participation and a better
sense of our overall potential for recycling. The work this semester
has also helped us understand more about our processes so that
we can try to work on them this summer. This has been a brief
precursor to our intended semester-long competition this fall.”
Both the recycling and energy conservation competitions are part
of the efforts undertaken this year by the Sustainability Advisory
Committee and the Physical Plant to raise awareness on campus about
environmentally friendly practices and to educate members of the
community about what they can do to conserve resources, reduce
waste and pursue other sustainable practices.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an
excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference
in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300
undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For
more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.