A Study of Energy Use at Kalamazoo College
Connor, Robert B.
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The evolving focus of Kalamazoo College on energy conservation and efficiency brought about the need for a project to study how the campus currently uses energy. This process, often taking the form of an energy audit, was developed somewhat atypically. At Kalamazoo College, there was a need to address several issues, especially monitoring energy use and analyzing the efficiency of that use. The College has taken many measures to increase efficiency in the recent past, especially in the new library. Studying this building, and comparing it to older structures helps provide ideas or possible improvements to the campus. Studying the influence of new insulation, new windows, and the effects of weather and operator practices will help the College plan out future improvements as well as predict some of the results from the Hicks Center renovations. The results of this study include important discoveries and the associated opportunities to save energy immediately: • Library systems mistakenly running all night were reset to save energy. • Library classrooms can be shut down completely when not in use, due to the excellent building thermal envelope. • Installation of new Metasys controls for Anderson Athletic Center, programmed for hours of operation and using occupancy sensors for events. • Discovery of erratic water heater operation in the Fine Arts Building, programmed operation recommended as well as lower temperature setting. • Energy meters were discovered in the Fine Arts Building that were never installed. • Ivy that was removed from Mandelle Hall was helping energy conservation. • Leaks and cracks in doors and windows of Stetson Chapel, should be sealed by installing new window locks and improving door and window fittings. • Storm windows must be properly used, particularly at Mandelle Hall. • Temperatures are on average 2-3 degrees above optimal settings in the winter, they should be reviewed and adjusted to save substantially. • The transition of outdoor lighting to new compact fluorescents should be accelerated. • Exterior walls exposed to sunlight have a significant increase in summer temperature gradients. • Humidity levels drastically affect the amount of energy needed for campus cooling. These discoveries show the benefits of performing a study such as this one as often as once a year. The study identifies easy opportunities to save money as well as maintaining interest of the entire campus. Implementing these energy efficiency recommendations will increase the overall campus efficiency, save money, and demonstrate that Kalamazoo College is committed to environmental responsibility. However, small projects with quick payback periods have limitations. In order for the College to distinguish itself from its peers and turn the corner shown in Figure 12, large capital investment is required.
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