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Saving energy pays off for Christopher Hall

Clayton Glazik
3/5/2014  8:00 am

Since we were little our parents have told us to turn off the lights after we leave a room. That is just what the Christopher Hall residents at the University of Illinois did in 2013. By shutting the lights off in rooms not in use, switching their lights to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, as well as other sustainable practices, the building was able to cut back its energy usage by 30.6% from the previous year.

The campus Facilities & Services (F&S) hosted a reception at Christopher Hall on February 14 to celebrate the building’s accomplishment in the F&S Energy Conservation Incentive Program (ECIP). A campus-wide sustainability effort, ECIP provides building upgrades to facilities that produce top energy conservation results in energy advancement and occupant action categories. ECIP calculates how much money the buildings are saving in energy reduction and gives it back to the building to pay for upgrades.

Christopher Hall, which houses the Family Resiliency Center (FRC), the Autism Program (TAP), several classrooms, faculty and staff offices, and a family research home, saved nearly $22,000. According to FRC Director Barbara Fiese, a building committee recommended investing the funds in a bike rack since so many people cycle to work, as well as other items that can further reduce energy usage.

In 2010, the University of Illinois published a climate action plan that set aggressive timeliness for reducing energy consumption on campus. Currently, there are more than 300 such active projects, which can be tracked at http://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/projects.

“At the end of the day, if we really want to meet ICAP goals, we have to do more,” says Al Stratman, F&S executive director. “That is why we came up with ECIP, which mirrors the campus goals.”

At the award ceremony, faculty and students pledged to continue reducing energy in their lifestyles by taking public transportation, using natural light in their offices rather than electricity, and shopping more at local food markets instead of commercial grocery stores. With their current sustainable practices and these recent pledges, Christopher Hall will continue slashing their energy consumption, making the Illinois campus a greener place.