Saving energy can be profitable! At FKCC we began efforts to incorporate energy conservation and new “green” technologies. We were amazed at how much a difference small efforts can make. In fact, through our efforts, the college will garner approximately $100,000 of savings this year alone.
We did this slowly, starting by sending out communications to all employees asking for their help in ensuring classroom lights, instructional equipment and computers were turned off at the end of each work day. We also discussed our efforts with our maintenance team and they were quick to point out ways that they could chip in to our efforts. For example, each shift incorporated an energy check into their round. At the end of the day, when the lobby was empty, we ensured student computers were turned off. Televisions that were on in student gathering places were set on timers so that when the public areas were closed, we could be sure the TVs were not utilizing energy unnecessarily. We also found that there were some new equipment that could be installed on a phased-in basis as money became available. This included installing lighting sensors in bathrooms and more efficient light bulbs as new ones were needed. We learned that the Monroe County Water Authority gave out free water conservation shower heads which we promptly installed in the bathrooms adjacent to the pool. We also began looking at the campus master plan to include native vegetation, xeroscaping, and shade trees for the future.
Finally, in the new marine technology building that is being designed, we incorporated LEED standards to ensure that we were being responsible in our building efforts. These steps began to pay off immediately – in comparing the current year’s monthly bills with the corresponding month from the previous year, we found, on average, an almost $10,000 monthly savings. For a small college such as FKCC, that is an undoubtedly significant amount of funds. I am convinced that these type of savings can be increased incrementally as campuses get larger and larger. For FKCC, the savings we gained can translate to a new professor and/or salary increases. However, most importantly, we are being true to our role as educators in making our students aware of the world around them and how precious it is to preserve our natural resources for the future.