Langley, BC - TWU Maintenance Manager Glenn Wallace holds up an energy saving light bulb. He and his department are campaigning Trinity Western students and staff to unplug and turn-off unnecessary lights in response to the WWF's Earth Hour occurring this Saturday, March 28th from 8:30 to 9:30pm. Promoted by BC Hydro, Earth Hour encourages businesses big and small to turn off non-essential lighting in buildings, facilities, and on signage for the evening hour.
Wallace says, "Energy consumption is like turning on a tap and allowing water to flow freely out a fixture; if left on it will flood an area. Once flooding occurs people know to turn off the water but with electricity it's not as obvious, so no one shuts off the source. This not only wastes resources but is costing the University money every second that something is left on."
Unbeknownst to many at TWU, Wallace and the Maintenance Department have been aggressively working on diminishing the amount of hydro the University uses. To date they have changed out almost all of the incandescent light bulbs in the dorms to energy saving compact fluorescent lights or CFLs, and will also be replacing approximately 240 shower heads, saving an estimated 15,000 gallons of water per year. Toilets are also getting an overhaul with the installation of low flow dual flush toilets saving almost 6 to 9 liters per flush.
Humble yet proud about the work that is being done Wallace shares, "One of the larger projects we've undertaken is replacing approximately 500 light fixtures in the library, another 300 across campus, plus approximately 500 cfl bulbs in the dorms. With these initiatives alone we could see an energy savings of approximately 222,000 kw/h, a cost savings of $10,434 annually. BC Hydro will be rebating us the total cost of all materials used, about $23,000, and because we are using our own staff to install them our payback will be immediate."
The average household uses 11,000 kwh annually which means that the installation of these new light fixtures has saved enough energy to power over 20 households for one year.
Other initiatives that the university has undertaken to reduce consumption of energy has been installing reflective roofing material on buildings to keep them cooler, and updating boilers that have seen a significant savings in the university's overall utility bills. TWU Grounds and Custodial Departments are using mostly environmentally friendly products and practices such as composting, and mulching grass clippings.
When asked why the Maintenance Department is promoting Earth Hour to the campus Wallace replies, "Like others that have joined in this initiative, we want to do our part to ensure that we as a university are setting an example of good stewards for the environment and of our resources.. As a Christian university we understand that what we enjoy in water, trees, and other resources are all from the Lord and should be used wisely."
With each WWF Earth Hour, residents and businesses around the world learn a little bit more about global warming and what they can do about it.
"Our biggest challenge is convincing people that they can make a difference one switch at a time," says Wallace. "Our department is the keeper of the resources being used on the campus. When we were on well water it was free. Now that we are hooked up to Township water we pay for every litre used, and every litre that goes down the drain we pay for in sewer charges. Water is moved around the campus with pumps so the more water we use we also use in electricity, and if the water is heated then natural gas is used."
TWU's utility bill breaks down into an estimated $60,000 for sewer services, $340,000 for electrical and $340,000 in natural gas. The University has also budgeted $60,000 for its new Township water.
Wallace says, "I hope that other departments and dorms will be challenged to shut off unnecessary lights for the one hour on Saturday and then think about how they can extend the savings to every day."
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 41undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 17 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2009-03-25