Dixie State takes on energy efficiency challenge seriously

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   The Dixie State University campus services has a goal to make Dixie a more energy-efficient environment, and it needs the help of the students to make the change. 

   Tracey O’Kelly, chair of the sustainable committee, has begun a process to help DSU become an institution that supports sustainability and behaves as an energy-saving environment.

   She added a recycling bin in every building. She, and Bart Peacock, the energy controls manager, are checking specific dumpsters on campus for recyclables and separating those things from the trash.

   “With that, we’re going to try and reduce our landfill fees, and that money we’re saving…will help Bart with more projects to continue to save energy,” O’Kelly said.

   She also said the school has different light fixtures, low-flow toilets and solar panels on specific buildings to help save energy.

   “There’s a new mentality out there [of] minimizing the usage as far as how many lamps are lit,” Peacock said. “With the new technology, you actually use less bulbs in the fixture, and it gives you that same light output.”

   The external lights at DSU also have new characteristics they didn’t have before. Peacock said they have photo control, which means when the sun goes down, the lights go on, and when the sun rises, the lights turn off. He also said out of all of the buildings included in the project to save energy, 75-80 percent of the rooms now have motion sensors that turn off the lights when no one is in the room.

   Peacock also said heating and air conditioning are on a strict schedule, and there are certain times every day that all systems in each building are completely turned off.

   Although the school has new characteristics that help save energy, O’Kelly wants to see more things change at DSU. One of the things she mentioned was to add more hydration stations to every building on campus so students are encouraged to reuse water bottles rather than just throwing them away.

   “I have hundreds of feasible ideas, but we just need people, we need involvement and a little bit of buy-in from the administration,” O’Kelly said.

   She said she needs the help of the students, and it only takes a little bit of time to take a part in saving energy. 

   “If you see someone throwing something away that could be recycled, just say, ‘Hey did you know that could be recycled? If you don’t mind, we can put it in the recycle bucket,’” O’Kelly said.

   She also said if students refrain from littering and also help pick up trash on their way to class, it could ultimately save energy. 

   “If we could all just pick up one piece, our facility guys who pick up trash could then work on the sprinklers that don’t need to water all day long,” she said.

   Amber D’Ambrosio, a special collections librarian, said another way students can save energy is by turning off campus technology.

   “People should be encouraged to turn off their computers and turn off their power strips for their computers,” D’Ambrosio said. “Also, make sure to turn off lights that aren’t needed. If we can encourage people to save energy in small ways, I think it can all add up substantially.”

   D’Ambrosio is a supporter of what Dixie is trying to accomplish.

   “I think it’s important not to be wasteful,” she said. “There are only so many resources, and it seems like if you’re putting forth the effort, you should be as respectful as possible with what you have and not squander it.”

   O’Kelly said if students begin to care, others will as well.

   “Students are the ones who run this campus, and if they buy into it, it will make everyone else buy into it,” she said. “The (recycle bins) are a great thing…but we need a little more.”

   The sustainable committee is hosting a forum Nov. 15 so students and community members can learn how to save energy around the community and in their own homes. The class will be held in the gazebo south of the Udvar Hazy Building, and the time will be determined at a later time.