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Ambrose changes heating and air policy

February 2011 | by Brittany Muntz

As winter chugs along and temperatures continue to plunge, it is no surprise that many people see their furnace as a precious commodity. Cranking the temperature up may seem like no big deal for some students, but it causes a world of concern for the St. Ambrose University GreenLife Committee.

A new temperature regulation strategy has been implemented throughout the St. Ambrose campus by recommendation of the GreenLife Committee.

"The big goal is to lower fossil fuel consumption but it's also kind of an awareness thing," GreenLife President Lizzy Oberhoffer said.

The strategy works to save energy and fossil fuels by lowering the temperature in all possible university buildings by two degrees. This allows residents to set their thermostats at any temperature between 60 and 72 degrees.
According to Jim Hannon, director of the St. Ambrose physical plant, the two degree drop will not be much of a change for most students.

"We've noticed that the majority of students keep their thermostat set at the low end of the range anyway," Hannon said. "In a lot of ways they are practicing this heating setback anyway."

The buildings being affected include Rohlman Hall, Bechtel Hall, the Center for Communications and Social Development, Christ the King Chapel, Franklin Hall, New Hall, the Health Science Building, Hagen Hall, and the Rogalski Center. The remaining campus buildings are unable to be regulated because they do not contain energy management systems or they are too old to regulate.

Implementing the new strategy was a bit of a task and did not happen overnight. It was supposed to take effect on Jan. 17, but a few setbacks including a power outage and some breakdowns prevented that from happening. This forced the physical plant to push the date back to the first week of February.

"You don't just go in a flip a switch and you're done," Hannon said. "You have to go into the computer for each building and change it for each zone and that takes a little while."

While a few students are unhappy with the change, the majority of them seem to be ok with it. Since information was released to students on Jan. 17, there have been minimal complaints.

"I'd say that all and all, students have been agreeing to this effort, especially because it's being driven by GreenLife," Hannon said.

As for the students who are affected by the change, GreenLife recommends wearing layers. Other options include wearing a light jacket or covering up with a blanket.

"We hope that people won't use space heaters because they kind of defeats the purpose," Oberhoffer said.

Students will not only be affected by this change during the winter time. The new temperature strategy will be implemented in the summer. Air conditioner units will also be regulated to save energy and fossil fuels.

As of now, it is still a mystery as to whether or not this strategy will be implemented for years to come.

"I would say feedback and response will dictate what we do in the future," Hannon said.

–As reported in The Buzz student newspaper

MORE LIKE THIS:Environmental-Sustainability, Institutional-Campus

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