Sustainability Initiative  




Our Success Stories: Energy Conservation

Addressing Energy Use by Computers
Aquinas has an institution-wide preference for both Energy Star qualified, and EPEATĀ® rated monitors and computers. EPEATĀ® is a comprehensive environmental rating that helps identify greener computers and other electronic equipment.
Lighting Retrofits on Campus
Implementation Status: ALTO lights are being installed throughout campus and the LED exit signs purchase is being negotiated.
In light of the recent waste regulation and the detrimental effects of mercury on the environment, Penny Blickle (Physical Plant) decided to research alternatives to the mercury-containing fluorescent lamps used on campus. The two main alternatives to fluorescent lighting are halogen and sulfur lights. Although halogen lamps do not contain any mercury, their use is discouraged by the EPA due to their relatively high energy use. Since we are motivated both by environmental responsibility and economic factors, halogen lamps are not an attractive choice. The Phillips ALTO has the least amount of mercury compared to the other fluorescent products that were researched, and the lowest price. Because of Penny Blickle’s leadership, Physical Plant is beginning to phase in the Phillips Alto bulb. This simple switch has allowed Aquinas to save money within its built environment, decrease energy costs, and lessen our negative impact on the environment.
Another success story from our Physical Plant Department is in the selection of LED exit signs as a replacement for existing exit signs and future signage. Exit signs must be lit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can compounded quickly in terms of energy costs when you consider the number of signs used on a typical college campus. The highly efficient LED exit signs can offer lifetime savings of up to $300 per sign in reduced energy, materials, and labor costs as compared with incandescent models. The bulbs on the units purchased are rated for a 20 year life and require very little, if any, maintenance.
Motion Sensor Light Switches
Implementation Status: The switches were installed during summer of 2009.
The Student Sustainability Committee submitted this idea as a formal proposal in November 2008. The proposal called for the purchase and installation of motion sensor light switches in twenty bathrooms on campus. The proposal received a value rating of 5 in the Joint Sustainability Committee (11/20/08) and was approved by the Provost during March of 2009.