September 21, 2007
Student Housing turns students on to more energy efficient lighting
How many Stanford students does it take to change a light bulb? Seven thousand, Student Housing administrators hope.
Students returning to campus this week and next will take part in a new energy conservation program that Student Housing is calling the largest of its kind at an American university. That university departmentin cooperation with the Office of Residential Education, Students for a Sustainable Stanford, the Sierra Club and Resource Solutions Groupwill distribute 7,000 compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to student residents and other Stanford affiliates.
Student Housing administrators said that, based on Energy Star metrics, a collective switch would make a big difference.
"If every Stanford student were to replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 13-watt CFL, annual savings would amount to 450,000 kilowatts of electricity; 220,000 pounds of carbon emissions; and $50,000 in utility costs," according to Nik Kaestner, Student Housing's new sustainability and utilities coordinator.
Student Housing already uses CFLs in ceiling lights in student rooms and hallways. The new program will encourage students to use the bulbs in personal desk lamps as well.
In the first phase of the CFL giveaway, incoming freshmen were asked by e-mail over the summer to bring to campus only lamps that use a standard screw-in bulb. With the freshmen now here, their resident assistants will distribute 2,000 free CFLs that are provided through Half Moon Bay-based Resource Solutions Group's Campus Housing Efficiency Solutions (CHES) Program. The program is funded by state utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Volunteer members of Students for a Sustainable Stanford, a campus environmental group, will verify that the bulbs are actually installeda condition of the CHES Program CFL installation project agreement with Stanford. As an added incentive, Student Housing will provide a free ice cream party to the first residence hall that achieves 100 percent freshman participation.
In the program's second phase, the Sierra Club will provide an additional 5,000 CFLs as part of a nationwide initiative to promote the use of efficient lighting on college campuses. These CFLs will be distributed to upper-class students, graduate students and staff. If more CFLs are needed, Resource Solutions Group will help fill the gap.
The CFL giveaway is part of Stanford Student Housing's Living Green program, which encourages students to use energy and water efficiently, to reduce and recycle waste, and to make sustainable choices when eating or shopping.
"Our nationally recognized Living Green program seeks to make sustainability a part of students' daily lives in their homes on campus," said Rodger Whitney, executive director of Student Housing and chief housing officer.
The green program helps not only the environment but students' wallets as well. "Through the joint conservation efforts of students and our department retrofit projects, we have reduced annual housing utility costs by $650,000, which helps keep room rates in check," Whitney added.
If the CFL giveaway program proves successful, Student Housing administrators said they would like to offer it in future years.