Feature
     

Think Globally: It's Electric! Save Energy Now

By Greta Petry (October 22, 2007)

Matt Ryan is shown reading meters at the Empire Commons apartment complex with Associate Professor Andrei Lapenas.
 

Senior Matt Ryan (foreground) is shown reading meters at the Empire Commons apartment complex with Associate Professor Andrei Lapenas, a co-leader of the University's Task Force on Environmental Sustainability. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Every Wednesday, UAlbany senior Matt Ryan walks Empire Commons with a clipboard, reading electric meters for more than 200 student apartments. And no, he's not the meter man.

Ryan, a senior from Shrub Oak, N.Y., is tracking how much electricity each apartment uses. (Empire Commons, the University's newest apartment complex, opened in 2002.) He is among the students who are getting the message out about the University's Energy Campaign, in which everyone who saves energy benefits. Through this campaign, students who save money through reduced consumption may use the savings toward perks for their residence halls.

Ryan's shared apartment uses fewer than 160 kilowatt-hours (kwh) per week, well below the 250 kwh used by the average apartment at Empire Commons. The challenge is that 60 of the Empire Commons apartments are using well over 300 kwh a week, which is 200 more kwh than the average American home.

"We are giving students the opportunity to actually learn how to save energy and prepare for a future in which they don't have that 'free' electricity anymore."  
Matt Ryan

In addition to reading meters and producing fliers, Ryan is Web site manager for the University's Task Force on Environmental Sustainability. As such, he works closely with Associate Professor Andrei Lapenas of the Department of Geography and Planning. Lapenas is a co-leader of the task force.

"This is a campaign where people learn how to save energy," Lapenas said. He hopes that students will continue to practice energy-saving habits beyond their time at UAlbany.

"We are giving students the opportunity to actually learn how to save energy and prepare for a future in which they don't have that 'free' electricity anymore," Ryan said.

"There's a very big incentive for Empire Commons residents to save because there's a lot of reward if they do," said Ryan, a double major in environmental science and geography and planning. He estimates the Empire complex has the potential to save $5,000 or more per campaign by making a few changes.

"I'd like to give a special thanks to all those who are actively helping with the Energy Campaign this semester," Ryan said.

The fall semester Energy Campaign ends Nov. 10. For more information visit the UAlbany Goes Green Web site.


Related Links:
UAlbany Goes Green
Department of Geography and Planning
Environmental Science
Empire Commons

 


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