The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

Paint it green: Energy conservation will need effort from students and faculty.

Student fees are on the rise, budgets are being slashed across the board and classes are steadily being shaved away.

With such menacing measures being taken to save money, “cleaner” methods of expense reduction are always welcome. But for these methods to take root, students and faculty need to be aware of and involved in saving energy so all buildings on campus can join conservation efforts.

One of these methods was highlighted last week when Kenan Residence Hall was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its energy conservation efforts. Kenan recorded $8,000 in savings last year, or a 4 percent decrease in consumption, according to the EPA’s Energy Usage Index. Last year, Morrison won the EPA’s National Building Competition by saving over $200,000, cutting 36 percent of its energy consumption.

With UNC gaining national recognition in energy savings two years in a row, it’s clear that we have the innovation and means to save money through energy efficiency.

But Kenan is only an extension of UNC’s Energy Conservation Measures as a whole. Not all the methods used in Morrison, such as the solar panels, are applicable to other buildings. This is why similarly large savings haven’t been seen in other buildings.
Most buildings funded by the state have already been upgraded for energy efficiency, but the need for continued energy conservation lies in the buildings that haven’t been improved yet— 30 to 40 percent of buildings on campus.

These buildings have to generate their own funds for improvements because of budget restraints, but they shouldn’t have to do it alone. The Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee was created specifically to help fund receipt-based structures like these, which are sustained on the revenue they bring in. Granted, the borrowing buildings will need to generate enough revenue to pay back the loans, but Morrison’s past success proves that this well-organized and efficient route should be considered.

Everyone on campus must be more efficient in energy consumption.

Because of constant hikes in student fees and tuition, now is the time to be proactive.

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