Energy management is one of the best ways for institutions to take control of their sustainability efforts. Conserving energy is a simple task that requires smart investment in efficient systems. Drake has made energy conservation a top priority on our path to carbon-neutrality. We are continuing to find other ways to manage our energy in more effective ways that do not harm our environment.
Drake has undertaken the process of installing motion sensors on all of our lights in academic and administrative buildings. This helps us conserve energy by avoiding the irksome, yet inevitable, lights that don’t get switched off! Also, Drake’s vending machines have sensors in them that conserve energy. Only when someone approaches the vending machine will the lights switch on.
All of the lights managed by Drake Facility Services use Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs us 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
Drake is committed to Energy Star certified appliances. All of the appliances that Drake purchases, including the washers and dryers in residence halls, are Energy Star certified. Energy Star appliances use 10–50 percent less energy and water, allowing us to both cut costs and reduce our impact on the environment.
Drake students are fortunate enough to have portable solar panels available to them to check out for events and programs. These solar panels are used to power outdoor music and appliances during Earth Week.
Changing the setting of your thermostat is one of those small changes that can make a big difference. Drake’s Sustainability Committee recommended increasing our temperature setting in the summer and decreasing it in the winter. In the summer, Drake has switched its cooling from 75 degrees to 77 degrees, which uses 20 percent less energy. In the winter, Drake has decreased its heating from 72 degrees to 68 degrees, using 16 percent less energy. The changes have helped to make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint.
Drake’s Energy Management System is set up to shut off fans and lights when buildings are not in use. The system monitors the temperature of each building, ensuring that it is heated or cooled at a conservative level. This allows us to reduce our energy usage when the University is closed or when buildings are not in use at nights and on weekends.
All of Drake’s electric and gas comes from MidAmerican Energy, the leading energy company in the nation for wind generation. Currently, 24 percent of MidAmerican’s energy is from non-carbon-based sources. For Iowa, that means wind!