PULLMAN, Wash. — Last fall, Washington State University began a program that rewards — in dollars — colleges and other major academic units that conserve energy use each semester under an Energy Conservation Incentive Program.

At the end of the 2002 fall semester, more than $50,000 dollars in energy have been saved. Fifty percent of the savings, or about $25,000, was allocated back to the colleges and major administrative units based on how much (if any) each building saved from August through December. The same process will be used during the spring semester.

Terry Ryan, WSU’s energy manager, said the university started comparing energy use in August with a baseline of past usage at more than 90 academic and research buildings on the Pullman campus.

“The program focuses on conservation,” Ryan said. His office has created Web site that displays each building’s current monthly usage compared to the baseline energy use.

The College of Veterinary Medicine was the biggest energy conserver and received a reward that equals half its total savings or $4,620, and the College of Sciences was second with a return of $3,486.

“Everyone will be able to check to see the results of any energy conservation efforts throughout the semester,” he said.

The university spends about $10 million annually for electricity and steam generation. “Even a 1 percent savings will amount to a savings of $100,000 campus wide,” Ryan said. “ If this pilot program proves successful, we will expand the program to cover other facilities operated by WSU.”

“We are attempting to create positive incentives for our employees to participate in energy savings,” said Greg Royer, vice president for Business Affairs. “Many people think utilities are free when in fact, this money comes off the top of the university budget just like it is with one’s personal budget at home.”

Those interested can find out monthly building energy use and additional information on the following Web site: facops.wsu.edu/energy.