Initiative sends in energy teams

Four buildings on Main Campus will play host to Temple’s new energy teams.

After keeping tuition in check this year, Temple is now looking to reduce the energy waste with its conservation campaign.

Temple’s plan is to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent in the next two years. It’s attempting this by testing out a new program that involves sending energy teams into four buildings on Main Campus: Alter Hall, Sullivan Hall, 1940 and Speakman Hall.

“We’re creating energy teams of building occupants,” Kathleen Grady, sustainability coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, said. “They’re going to help identify the problem, they’re going to come up with the solution, and then they’re going to help us implement these solutions.”

The teams are responsible for gathering information on each building and figuring out where the problems lay in the teams’ respective buildings. Problems can be rooted from micro-fridges plugged in with nothing inside, or heaters and air-conditioners that are broken and haven’t been fixed, Grady said.

Kurt Bresser, Temple’s energy manager, is responsible for the budgeting of energy and has been working with each energy team. He talked about these problems in detail and said the issue of broken appliances has forced people to find their own solutions.

“In some instances they’ve resorted to bringing in their own heaters,” Bresser said.

The energy teams are composed of faculty members and staff who work inside the buildings, as well as students volunteering to help out. There are students who gather information on the number of outlets, lighting fixtures and other electrical components in each building.

Bresser credited the insight of the students working with the energy teams and said, “The kids have a different point of view, and lots of valuable insight that I wouldn’t otherwise get.”

There are also unique devices that the Office of Sustainability has been using to reduce energy. Bert, a plug that acts as a timer, is being used in Sullivan Hall to reduce energy waste.

Grady said people often leave devices, such as copiers, in sleep mode instead of being turned off, which consumes energy. With Bert, people will be able to turn the copier off wirelessly and set it to a schedule for when they aren’t around.

The program is only in its pilot phase — it’s about a month old — and Bresser said it’s “too early to know the success of it yet.”

“The first indication of how successful it’s been will be on the Nov. 30 initial report…that’ll be the first thing that we’ll see on the record that will reflect the work of the energy teams,” Bresser said.

If the program does well, it may move to other buildings throughout Main Campus, as well.

“We’re going to figure out all the things we’re going to do wrong and try to fix them before we send them to Anderson and Gladfelter,” Grady said.

She encouraged anyone interested in starting a program in their building to contact her office. She said that many students and organizations on Main Campus, like Net Impact and Students for Environmental Action, are getting involved in the program.

Students can take an energy conservation pledge as well as find other ways to pitch in and help reduce energy waste by going to the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Matthew Hulmes can be reached at

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