There are many simple changes we can make in our daily routines to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Actions that Cost Nothing Add Up
- Recycle. Put soda cans, plastic and glass bottles and paper in the proper receptacles throughout campus. Smith recycles aluminum cans, bottles (glass and all types of plastic), cardboard, batteries (if your house doesn't have a battery collection box, set one up), printer cartridges, old computers and electronics.
- Reduce. Use a personal water bottle or travel mug instead of many paper cups or plastic bottles. Get your free personal hot or cold travel mug from Dining Services at its Central Check-In booth. Some places near campus will even fill your coffee mug and allow a few cents credit for using your own container.
- It's good to sleep! Change your computer settings so the screen sleeps after 10 minutes of inactivity, your hard drive stops after 20 minutes, and your computer enters "sleep mode" after one hour. Using sleep mode on your computer can save 200 kilowatt-hours of energy a year and avoid 300 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions! Contact ITS at 585-4487 for information about your computer's sleep settings.
- Slay the Vampires! Plug into a power strip. Vampire loads are things that are always "on" even though you think they're off -like cell phone chargers, tvs, stereo equipment and computers. Plugging all appliances into a power strip that can be switched off with one button when you leave the room is a convenient way to cut down on vampire loads.
Smith's ITS department and the Office of Sustainability are gradually introducing smart power strips that automatically turn off your computer and peripherals once your computer enters the sleep or stand-by modes.
- Make Your First Million. Join the Million Monitor Drive by pledging now to enable your computer's sleep mode. ITS has committed 1,000 staff and faculty computers and Clean Energy for Smith (CES) has committed 1800 student-owned PC's. The deadline for the student effort is just before Thanksgiving each year and is part of a three-school competition with Amherst and Mount Holyoke.
If we reach our goal, the prize is enough green energy to power all the student computers for a year. Why do we put the Million Monitor Drive first and green energy second? The emissions savings by enabling sleep mode on those 1,800 PC's is actually greater than the emissions savings from powering all 2,400 student PC's with green energy. In fact, it's 40 percent more.
- Live au naturale. Turn off your lights when you leave a room, or don't use lights during daylight hours. That's what the sun is for!
- Get out more. Study at the library so you can leave the lights off in your room. The lights in the library will be on all day no matter how many students are studying there.
- Be cool. If you have a thermostat, turn it down to 68 degrees in the heating season and wear a fleece or sweatshirt. Even a few degrees helps.
- Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Contact Facilities Management at 585-2400 or use their Service Request Form if your room is too cold or too hot. Don't just open the window and heat the outdoors. Instead of an electric blanket or a space heater, use a thermal or fleece blanket. If it's mostly your feet that get chilly, a throw over the foot of the bed or fresh socks at bedtime will keep your feet warm.
- A big turn-off. Take shorter showers, don't leave water running while you do other things, and report drips and leaks to Facilities Management.
- Take a hike. Walk, ride your bicycle or use a scooter to get to classes, across campus or downtown.
- It's my bag, baby! Take a tote bag shopping and reduce the load of plastic bags on the streets and in the trees! Many grocery stores give you a nickel credit for bringing your own bag.
- When not in use, turn off the juice. Turn off all appliances (computers, TV, stereo, etc.) when not in use. Surge protector power strips allow you to turn off several appliances at once.
- Bulk Up. Buying laundry detergent in bulk for your house stops the unnecessary manufacture of plastic containers. And it will save you money! If everyone shares the cost of a large container of detergent, everyone saves a little and "borrowing" other people's detergent will no longer be an issue in the laundry room.
Things worth a small investment
- Tupperware Party! Bring your own reusable plastic food containers to the dining room for those late-night snacks. Dishes and flatware should stay in the dining rooms.
- Looking for an excuse to buy a new radio? Purchase appliances that consume less energy or even generate their own, such as a "Freeplay Ranger" AM/FM radio, compact fluorescent light bulbs and solar power battery chargers. Look for "Energy Star"-rated appliances when you buy.
- Boogie Down. Down booties keep feet warm and comfy on cold nights
- Got a light? Purchase a LED light; they use less energy and pay for themselves over time.
Back-to-School Shopping List
Energy used to power everyday products often comes from fossil fuel burning power plants. Because using less energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality, choosing "Energy Star" is one way we can do our part to protect the planet for ourselves and future generations.
- Computer monitors: "Energy Star"-qualified computer monitors automatically power down to 15 watts or less when not in use, saving up to 90 percent more energy than standard monitors.
- Printers: Printers that have earned the "Energy Star" can cut the equipment's energy use by more than 60 percent.
- Scanners: "Energy Star"-qualified scanners, printers and computer monitors undergo less wear and tear because they power down to "sleep" mode during periods of inactivity.
- TVs: "Energy Star"-qualified TVs use about 25 percent less energy than standard models.
- DVD players: If all DVD players sold this year carried the "Energy Star," it would mean a reduction of six billion pounds of air pollution.
- Stereos: Each year, Americans spend more money to power home audio equipment when turned off than when actually in use. "Energy Star"-qualified consumer electronic products in the "off" position use up to 60 percent less energy than conventional equipment.
- Compact refrigerators: "Energy Star"-qualified compact refrigerators use 20 percent less energy than standard models.
- Cordless phones: Telephones that have earned the "Energy Star" operate on one-third of the power used by standard models.
- Answering machines: If all cordless phones, answering machines and combination units sold this year were "Energy Star," we would reduce air pollution by over 650 million pounds, the equivalent of taking 7,000 cars off the road.
- Desk lamps: Ninety percent of the energy generated by standard light bulbs is wasted as heat, leaving only 10 percent to be converted into visible light. However, light bulbs that have earned the "Energy Star" use two-thirds less electricity than conventional models.
- Torchiere floor lamps: Typical halogen bulbs found in torchiere floor lamps can burn dangerously hot—up to 100 degrees! That's hot enough to cook an egg! Choose "Energy Star" qualified torchiere lamps, hard-wired with bulbs that operate at less than 100 degrees and which are cool to the touch.
The Pioneer Valley was once a giant lake bed, and the rich soil left behind grows lots of good food. You can find locally grown food at a number of farmers' markets in the area, which offer fresh produce, plants, and sometimes eggs, meat and cheese. The Smith Community Garden offers the chance to be involved with growing a shared crop of food which requires zero fossil fuels to transport to the table. The garden also organizes a lot of field trips to learn more about sustainable gardening.
Restaurants and shops in the area also offer natural, local foods and vegetarian options; check out Atkin's Farm in Amherst; Local Burger, Paul and Elizabeth's, and Northampton Brewery all in downtown Northampton.
The Bicycle Kitchen
The bicycle kitchen offers a bike rental program and meets once a week to help people with their bike repair needs. They can be found tinkering from 4–6 p.m. on Fridays in Ainsworth Gym. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Web site.
- Public Transportation. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) bus service reaches most places of interest in the Valley and is free for Five-College students. For information and schedules visit their Web site.
- Trains. The Vermonter line from Amtrak services towns from St. Albans, Vermont through Amherst, to New York and ends in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit their Web site.
- Zip Car. Smith has a contract with Zip Car to provide a fleet of fuel-efficient hybrid cars that rent by the hour. This is a great way to get somewhere quickly and reduce parking congestion on campus. A fuel card comes with the cars, which live in the Smith Parking Garage near the ground floor entrance. For more information, visit the ZipCar Web site.