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The Daily Tar Heel


According to the Sustainability Office, UNC spends over $83 million per year in energy costs. With the recession hitting UNC’s budget hard, reducing such a huge bill should be a top priority.

Given this information, it is startling to consider that I walked into a class building at night last week to find no one in the whole building except for one room, and every air conditioner in every room blasting out 60-degree air. Not even on a hot day would that temperature be appropriate; students would be wearing sweaters and blankets after ten minutes in such an icebox.

Unsurprisingly, I see sweaters and goose bumps in buildings from the School of Public Health all the way to Phillips, libraries and the Union. It is economically and environmentally reprehensible for buildings to be this cold, school-wide, day and especially at night when rooms are unoccupied. The Energy Star website recommends setting thermostats to 78 degrees during hot months. Surely a range of 72-74 (cold to me) would be accepted by the student body.

Efforts are being made to become more sustainable and wean the school off coal-produced energy. Before that necessary transition can be realistic, UNC must enact policy to eliminate wasteful air conditioning use. It will also reduce student frostbite and misery at the idea that our money is disappearing into thin air.

Caroline Johnson
Environmental Health Science

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