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Students Reach Energy-Saving Goal

It’s official: the student group Clean Energy for Smith (CES) rallied more than 1,800 Smith students in a campaign to voluntarily set their computer monitors to power down when not in use.

CES joined the college’s Green Team and Information Technology Services early this fall in coordinating Smith’s Million Monitor Pledge Drive, part of a national campaign projected to save $30 million this year, and enough energy to power 350,000 homes for a month. By signing the pledge, computer users enable an internal Energy Star feature to automatically power down their computer monitors after sitting unused for 15 to 20 minutes and reverting to a low-power standby mode after an hour or more. The function does not interrupt active computer applications.

Part of the drive was a contest among Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges to sign up as many student pledges as possible by November 22. Smith surpassed its goal of 1,800 pledges, signing up 1,852 students, and winning the three-school challenge. Mount Holyoke took second place with 1,325 pledges (surpassing its goal of 1,300). Amherst gathered 831 pledges of its 1100-pledge goal.

As a result, CES will receive an award on behalf of Smith of 350,000 kilowatts (kWh) worth of Renewable Energy Certificates, which can be exchanged for zero-emissions electricity generated by wind power. The certificates can provide enough electricity to power all of Smith’s student computers for a year.

Also as part of the contest, the three Smith houses to produce the highest percentages of pledge signees won pizza parties, paid for by Physical Plant. The winning houses were Hopkins, Park and Tenney, each of which signed up nearly 100 percent of their residents.

Next challenge: to inspire at least 1,200 of Smith’s faculty and staff members to sign the pledge to activate the Energy Star feature and power down their computers when not in use. To pledge, click here and follow instructions.

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