New year’s resolution: save energy

With the new year, many people make personal resolutions to improve their lives. Terry Ryan, director of energy systems operations for Facility Operations, would like people to make a resolution to help improve Washington State University by conserving energy.

“We’ve been working on energy conservation for a number of years,” he said. “The university always had an ongoing conservation program.”

Lately, Ryan and others from FacOps have been reminding people to conserve. They have held meetings to help educate people on the energy costs at WSU and the impact of high energy consumption.

“Utility costs take money from other core program needs,” Ryan said. “If we can reduce our energy expenses, we can spend more on academic and research programs.”

Energy costs at WSU have increased over the years. The projected energy budget for fiscal year 2007 is $18.6 million, a 38 percent increase from fiscal year 2004.

“There are not huge things you do to cut those costs. But if everybody starts consistently doing the little they can, that’s what makes an effective program,” Ryan said.

He encourages people to look at things in their work area, office area and living area if they live on campus. Look at the things that use energy and turn them off when they are not needed, he said — items like radios, coffee pots, computers and desk lamps.

“If everyone at WSU turned their lights off for an additional hour a day, it would save $200,000 a year,” Ryan said.

The idea of energy conservation is not meant to make the work environment difficult or unpleasant, he said. It is about cutting down on the unnecessary use of energy — minimizing or eliminating wasted energy.

“Everybody can help, and it requires everybody to help to make a big impact,” Ryan said. “If one or two people help, they can make a small difference; but if all 20,000 people on campus do it, it will help a significant amount.”

Energy tips
Small energy savings add up. You can help:
• Turn off overhead lights and use task lighting
• Keep windows closed to help regulate building heat
• Turn off the computers at night
• Turn off electrical items when they’re not in use
• Remind your neighbors to do the same
• For more hints, see

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