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Reducing the Electric Bill

Fall energy campaign extends to academic podium

September 4, 2009

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UAlbany sustainability director Mary Ellen Mallia hands out CFL light bulbs with students

Sustainability director Mary Ellen Mallia holds a compact fluorescent light bulb as resident assistants Brad Machado and Kelsey O'Brien ready boxes of bulbs for the residence halls. National Grid's Sue Nealon, right, helped secure $5,000 for the energy-saving bulbs. (Photo Mark Schmidt)          

Energy conservation at UAlbany is a hallmark of the University's sustainability initiatives. Each fall, the residence halls compete to reduce electricity, giving students the opportunity to earn rewards for saving energy. This year, the campaign is being extended to the academic podium, where according to Mary Ellen Mallia, director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, the classroom buildings account for 50 percent of UAlbany's electric bill.

"I want our campus to be aware of the impact our actions have on the environment," said Mallia. "Small changes in behavior can collectively add up to a big difference in the amount of energy we demand and decrease the associated drain on our resources."

This year, as in the past, Mallia and a host of student volunteers handed out compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for use in offices and residence halls. The CFL bulbs, which last ten times as long as regular bulbs, were secured with a $5,000 grant from National Grid.

Tom Baron of National Grid's Energy Efficiency Department spoke to the campus sustainability coordinators as they started the light bulb exchange. "I think it's great that you are making energy efficiency a priority for the University. You are the leaders." Baron noted that small steps, like turning off computers and power strips at night, go a long way toward becoming better stewards of the environment.

The goal for 2009 is to slash that electric bill for academic buildings by 10 percent. Before leaving the office or classroom at the end of the day, Mallia recommends:

  • Shut down your computer
  • Unplug or turn off at the power strip monitors, speakers, projectors, and chargers
  • Close the windows and draw the shades or blinds
  • Unplug any special equipment/device that can be safely turned off and is not required after hours
  • Shut down fume hoods that are not required to be operational after hours
  • Turn off the lights

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Nearly 30 years ago, James Acker left a thriving law practice in North Carolina to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in academia at the University at Albany.

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