Is the water meter broken?
Thanks to campus-wide retrofits completed as part of the College's commitment to reducing energy use, LC has saved 5 million gallons of water, 907,000 kilowatt hours, and nearly $155,000.
During the first six months of the 2010-11 year, the College saved 5 million gallons of water. "That's the equivalent of over 21,000 flushes per day based on the current flush rates for these new toilets," said Dave Fisher, director of LC's physical plant. "That's 3.9 million flushes total."
Not all the savings come from toilets, however. Low-flow showerheads and faucets, as well as "smart" irrigation systems have also decreased water usage.
Savings have also occurred in electric use. "Across six months, we saved 907,200 kWh (kilowatt hours)," Fisher said. "That is the equivalent to not burning 15,242 40-watt light bulbs for eight hours a day."
Because of fluctuations in weather and electric rates, not all that savings can be attributed to conservation efforts, but the vast majority does represent the installations of more efficient electrical systems and lighting.
Overall, the College saved $154,683, compared with the same period in 2009-10.
Lynchburg College will spend $4.65 million in energy improvements over the next several months, which should eventually result in a reduction of $583,000 in annual energy costs -about a third of the College's utility bills.
The energy improvement project was developed after President Kenneth Garren signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which aims to eliminate global warming emissions.
A 2007 campus-wide audit by Ameresco, an energy services company, determined how the College could best reduce its energy consumption. Lynchburg College is among the first institutions in Lynchburg to hire an energy services company and hopes that this move will encourage others to do the same.
The College also received a $70,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to install electric and water meters in 12 campus dormitories. These dormitories house a total of 1,320 students, representing 60 percent of the undergraduate student body.
The dormitory metering project includes graphic information that is now accessible on a TV screen outside the cafeteria in Burton Student Center for review by students, faculty, and staff. The data provides history of water and energy usage, current usage, and total consumption for the building.