During exams, there’s not a seat in the house in the Earl Gregg Swem Library. Swem can have up to 800 students on any given evening, and all tables, chairs, and most of the floor spaces are filled. Lights are ablaze on all floors of the library as students cram for exams and write papers. But despite Swem’s popularity as a study and social space, there are times of day and times of year when Swem is less full. Yet during these times, many of Swem’s lights are on, an unnecessary and expensive cost to the College and to the environment.
One of the recently-awarded grants from the Committee on Sustainability will address this issue. Campus Facilities Management will install SensorSwitch lighting devices in over 200 rooms at Swem (offices, group and individual studies, and restrooms). SensorSwitches turn on lights when they detect movement or body heat, then shut lights off after a specified period of time with no occupancy detected. The COS grant of $15,000 will be earned back in savings in less than two years, since campus Energy Manager Dan Patterson estimates annual electricity cost savings of about $8,300.
So never fear: you’ll have plenty of light to read The Throne (the newsletter found exclusively in the restrooms of Swem Library), but your conscience can rest easy knowing that lights will be off and energy saved when you’re not enjoying the latest installment.