Energy use, cost increases hit Bowdoin
As Bowdoin looks for ways to cope with the expected national
economic depression, growing power costs are adding an increasingly troublesome
financial burden to Bowdoin's budget.
Over the past five years, Kilowatt per Hour (KWH) usage
has increased by 5.5 million units while the unit price has risen by almost
20%. This year alone, the price of each KWH has risen 19.16%, and it is
projected that the school will require 700,000 KWH more than it did last
year. That translates to $4,447 a day, or $1,000 more being spent on power
than last year. In all, the total energy cost is up 24.83%.
According to Assistant Director for Properties and Budget
Administration Rick Parkhurst, the increase in power usage is from both
building renovations and additions as well as a growing number of appliances
and computers used by students. "There are more microwaves, more
computers, more refrigerators," he said. "All those things add
Considering how many computers there are on campus and in
dorm rooms, it is clear why computer usage is an especially large concern.
Parkhurst said that many students simply leave their computer systems
and appliances on all night long. "At home, people pay their power
bills, so they're aware of how much energy they use. At Bowdoin, a lot
of people think their power is free, but it's not. It has to come from
In fact, the money comes from other areas of the College
budget and the more the school spends on energy, the less it can spend
Understandably, Bowdoin is taking steps to reduce the amount
of money the school spends on power. There are plans to re-lamp certain
buildings and to install occupancy-sensor lights and more efficient fans.
The administration is also working with an outside consulting agency,
Combined Energy, to find additional ways to decrease power consumption.
These are only long-term solutions, however, as the benefits of these
expensive projects won't be seen for around 15 years.
However, as Payson explained, the most important thing is
raising awareness among the student body. Both Payson and Parkhurst agreed
that consumption would decrease significantly if students made more of
an effort to conserve power.
Simple things, such as turning your computer and stereo
off when they're not in use or shutting lights off when you're not in
a room can ease the school's growing financial burden. For example, a
computer system that is turned on 24 hours a day costs the school $17
a month. In comparison, it costs $3.40 to keep a computer running only
40 hours a week, which is more time than a typical student spends in front
of a monitor.
The effects of the school's increasing power usage stretch
well beyond finance. Although Maine does not yet face the energy shortages
that are plaguing the West Coast, energy prices rise for an entire area
as a whole when the demand increases. Also, a reduction in the school's
energy consumption would significantly reduce CO2 output.
In the end, the extent to which Bowdoin is affected by power
costs remains largely within our hands.
For more information on ways you can help ease Bowdoin's
power problem, contact Keisha Payson at firstname.lastname@example.org
or ext. 3086.