One of the commitments in Emory’s Environmental
Mission Statement, passed by the University Senate in March 2001,
is to conserve natural resources. As the newly appointed campus
environmental officer charged with implementing the environmental
mission statement, my first major endeavor will be to establish
a comprehensive energy strategy.
The recent blackout in the Northeast has refocused our attention
on our use and dependence on electricity. Emory already is a leader
in energy-use reduction. Let me briefly outline four of our areas
of success that will contribute to a comprehensive energy strategy.
First, the University has very high design and construction standards
that help reduce energy use in new buildings. For example, all new
exit signs use LED lights; the LED lamp uses two watts per fixture,
whereas the old fixtures used a 40-watt incandescent light. Also,
all new fluorescent fixtures have T-8 lamps and use electronic ballasts.
These save 40 percent in electricity over conventional T-12 fixtures.
Yet another example is the motion sensors in offices and classrooms
that control lighting systems; when a room is not occupied for a
period of time, the lights turn off automatically.
Second, new construction and renovations use the guiding principles
of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green
building rating system. Among other environmental considerations,
LEED looks for ways to minimize energy use in the operation of a
For instance, projected energy savings for the Whitehead Building,
the first LEED Silver certified building in the Southeast, are projected
to be greater than 20 percent. This building incorporates a “heat
wheel” to minimize heating and cooling costs. Other energy
saving devices include an automated cage washer that recycles hot
water, use of day lighting in laboratories and offices, and photo
sensors in fluorescent lights to control light levels.
As Peggy Barlett, professor of anthropology, reported in the Aug.
25 Emory Report, the Energy Conservation Project was successful
in reducing energy use by as much as 8.5 percent in 10 buildings
in Emory College. The project’s objectives are to educate
faculty, staff and students about ways to reduce energy use—and
to get people to act on that knowledge. The project is beginning
its second year, with the goal of continuing to reduce energy use
within the college.
As part of the Piedmont Project in 2002, Oxford Dean of Academic
Affairs Kent Linville committed to take on an environmental initiative
on Emory’s mother campus. When faced with a three-inch stack
of utility bills, Linville knew what to do; he brought together
people from across campus to form an energy task force soon to be
named CORE (Conserve Oxford Resources and Energy).
The task force has spent the last several months assessing energy
use and is in the initial stages of developing an energy plan. The
plan will use a two-pronged approach: First, it looks for ways to
retrofit buildings with equipment that helps conserve electricity.
These solutions can be as simple as installing an ultraviolet film
on the windows or installing motion sensors to lights. The plan’s
other component is to change student, staff and faculty use of energy
through education—teaching them about the connection between
energy use and the production of greenhouse gases, for example,
or encouraging them to turn off lights and computers.
With these strengths to build on, I am sure we can develop a strong
and innovative energy strategy for Emory. (If you would like to
participate in the development of the strategy, please contact me
For more information on how sustainability can be incorporated into
campuses, join us for a telecast on Sustainability in Higher Education,
to be held Thursday, Oct. 9, from noon to 2 p.m. in E208 Math &