Initiative Helps Take the Heat Off Energy Use
Kerry Valentine outside the newly efficient King-Scales
year, when Kerry Valentine, a senior Ada Comstock Scholar,
was challenged to come up with an environmentally sustainable
project that could be applied to Smith College, she kept
Valentine set to work researching an energy-saving technology
that had recently been installed in the walk-in coolers of
the restaurant she manages locally, and determined it could
also benefit her school.
Valentine, 31, was presented
with the challenge as part of an environmental science and
policy seminar she was taking, taught by David Smith, associate
professor of biological sciences.
restaurant, the energy solutions company National Resource
Management had installed in two walk-in coolers its “CoolTrol” system,
which reduces the amount of time the compressor runs, thereby
maximizing the energy efficiency and minimizing operational
She offered the information
to Smith’s energy manager,
Todd Holland, whose position also serves other area colleges,
and news about the cooler technology spread.
“When this project came up I just kind of put the two together,” Valentine said
of her initiative in sharing the CoolTrol technology. “I contacted a rep from
the company and it just snowballed.”
Following Valentine’s tip, the
CoolTrol technology is scheduled for installation soon in
20 coolers at Smith, including those located in all of the
residence dining rooms as well as the Campus Center Café.
In addition, Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, will have the new technology before the end of this
“This story illustrates the potential when classes embrace projects,” said Dano
Weisbord, Smith’s environmental sustainability director. “That technology was
simply not on our radar screen. Now it will save energy on numerous campuses.”
After an up-front cost of $50,000,
the technology will save Smith about $17,000 a year in electricity.
Plus, Smith received a rebate from National Grid to invest
in the energy-saving project.
While Smith courses often encourage
students to pursue real-world projects, they don’t always come to fruition as successfully
Appropriately, Valentine received
an “A” in that course.