Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sustainability in Practice-Heating, Electricity and Water

Living in a residence hall on campus has its benefits and students take full advantage of them. It’s not more than a 10-15 minute walk to any other part of campus, there are dining centers in close proximity so you don’t have to worry about making sure the fridge is stocked and the dishes are clean but the benefit most students take advantage of is the flat rate for electricity, heating and water usage.

The rate for living in Orton Hall for the academic year 2010-2011 is just over $6,300. While this large amount may draw a gasp, it is less than one would pay living in an apartment if one was to use the same amount of electricity, heating and water. In the residence halls, some students try to balance “getting their money’s worth” and not wasting resources but it is difficult in the easiest of times. These long, cold Pullman days mean turning up the heater a few degrees and spending a couple more minutes in a hot shower. This also means more electricity use as students use hot pots to make Tom Ramen and hot chocolate. Students typically stay indoors more in cold weather so that means more lights on for a longer period of time as well as more usage of electrical appliances such as televisions, computers and gaming systems.

So I urge students living in residence halls…wait… I urge everyone to try some of these tips to help combat the usage of electricity, heating and water in living spaces.

1.       Instead of turning up the heat, try putting on a sweatshirt, some sweatpants and snuggling up under a blanket.
2.       When you leave a room, turn off the lights and invest in LED light bulbs and lamps instead of using the large overhead lights.
3.       Try keeping your shower to the same length during the winter days, and if you’re feeling especially environmentally-friendly, try reducing your shower by a couple of minutes.
4.       Unplug appliances and chargers that aren’t being used, it is amazing how much energy a “sleeping” computer uses. Don’t just turn off the toaster, unplug it. It’s safer and better for the environment by conserving energy.

If you can implement these 4 tips into your daily routine, I promise you will see a change in your water and electricity bills. If you live in a residence hall, you don’t see those bills but you can take comfort in knowing you are making a difference in the environment by being sustainably conscious. Plus, it’s good practice for when you do start paying for electricity and water.

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