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energy conservation

UTSA Energy Conservation Committee seeks more members

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(May 30, 2007)--UTSA's Energy Conservation Committee has put out a call for additional members from the university community.

In an environment of increasing utility costs, and recognizing UTSA's position as a leader in education and as a major energy consumer, President Ricardo Romo established the UTSA Energy Conservation Committee in 2006 to advise the university on energy conservation initiatives and to promote energy conservation awareness throughout the Tri-Campuses.

The committee meets quarterly to discuss costs, consumption reduction and awareness initiatives. To volunteer for this important committee, e-mail Bonnie Marks by June 15 your name, department or organization, and a brief explanation of what you would like to accomplish as a member of the Energy Conservation Committee.

For more information, contact Bonnie Marks at (210) 458-6143.

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Energy conservation tips

  • For every degree below 78 you set your thermostat during the summer, cooling costs increase by 9 percent.
  • Close window coverings (blinds and drapes) during the day, especially on the east and west sides of a building. Blocking sunlight reduces heat gain. Sunlight can increase demand on an air conditioning system by as much as 30 percent. Turn blinds up instead of down. White blinds reduce solar heat gain through windows up to 50 percent.
  • To make it easier to shut down your computer equipment each day, plug the computer, printer or scanner into a surge protector power strip. Then at the end of the day, simply turn off the power strip.
  • If computers and monitors are always left turned on, it can cost more than $150,000 per month for electricity. If they are shut down daily, the cost drops to less than $50,000 with savings of at least $100,000 per month.
  • If half of the teachers in Texas turned out the lights everyday on their way to lunch, it would save $3.4 million each year.

Computer energy conservation

One of the best conservations tips for computer use is to turn it off if you're not using it. Even if the equipment is off for brief periods, such as during lunches, meetings or breaks, you'll see a reduction in energy costs.

Alternatively, the next best solution is to enable the power-saving features of your computer, so it goes into sleep mode when it's not being used. According to the EPA, nearly 44 percent of computer users do not use the power-saving features of their computers.

Newer computers that have this feature will power down to as little as 15 watts or less while remaining connected to the network. Using this feature alone can reduce overall electrical consumption of a computer by up to 50 percent. If you're using a screensaver, be aware that they don't save power.

To enable the power-down feature on a PC:

  • Right-click at the desktop.
  • Go to "properties."
  • Click on screensaver.
  • Select energy management settings.
  • Choose the time to shut off the monitor.
  • Click "OK."

To set energy-saver features on a Macintosh computer:

  • Go to the Apple menu and select "System Preferences."
  • Under "Hardware," choose "Energy Saver" and select sleep options.

For older computers that do not have a power-down feature, turn off the monitor when not in use.

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