Seeing Campus in a New Light
Grécourt Gate News: It's a subtle change, and few on campus will likely notice. But by mid-July, when more than 3,500 fluorescent lamps in campus buildings will have been replaced with lower-wattage models, the savings in energy consumption and money will begin.
Eight buildings are scheduled to be outfitted with lower-wattage lamps and ballasts (the electronic drivers for the lamps). In addition, some rooms will be equipped with sensors that monitor movement and sound to determine if the lights are needed, triggering an automatic shut-off mechanism after a designated period of no activity.
The fluorescent lamp switchover is part of the college's ongoing effort to reduce the campus' energy consumption and emission of greenhouse gases, in order to contribute fewer pollutants to the atmosphere, and to ease budgetary expenditures. Between 2004 and 2008, the Smith campus reduced electrical consumption by 11.4 percent.
Smith College's Energy Reduction Efforts Add Up
Smith College News Office: Smith College's commitment to energy efficiency has resulted in a steady decline in carbon emissions throughout the past four years that "very few" schools experience without purchasing carbon offsets, said a Smith official.
Dano Weisbord, environmental sustainability director, noted that Smith's emissions in 2008 were 31 percent below the peak level of 2004. The peak coincided with the opening of the Campus Center, an event that added the heating and electrical demands of the 56,000-square-foot building to the college's carbon footprint.
Last year's decrease is attributed primarily to two efforts, according to Weisbord: ongoing efficiency upgrades to campus buildings and infrastructure and Smith's conversion from burning mostly oil to natural gas in the central heating plant.
Moving Away from Bottled Water
Grécourt Gate News: This semester students were welcomed back to campus with new water bottles. The bottles, along with the elimination of bottled water at Chapin Grab-and-Go, are part of a new push to wean Smith College students from bottled water. U.S. bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually. Nearly 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day.
Dining Services Offers More Locally Grown Food
Grécourt News: Smith College students are finding an increasing abundance of locally grown food on campus menus this fall. As a new member of the "Be a Local Hero Buy Locally Grown" campaign, run by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Dining Services has increased the amount of locally grown food it purchases from area farmers.