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L&C Sustainability Dashboards Help Make Progress Toward Campus Carbon Neutrality

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Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu
GODFREY – Lewis and Clark recently installed two dashboards on the Godfrey campus that allow students, faculty, staff and the general public to view real-time energy usage data for each metered building on campus.

The dashboards are similar to those at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station and will allow campus users to track progress toward energy reduction goals.

“People can now use the dashboard touchscreens to display energy usage in each of the major academic buildings on campus,” said Director of Sustainability Nate Keener. “Buildings can be compared side-by-side or individually, and energy trends can be tracked over the past hour, day, week and month.”

L&C’s Office of Sustainability also recently completed L&C’s 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update through the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment and is proud to report continued progress toward the college goal of campus carbon neutrality by 2058.

L&C showed continued positive momentum in almost all areas of the inventory. The college reported a 10 percent reduction in purchased electricity since 2012, which was offset by the purchase of renewable energy; a dramatic 43 percent reduction in student commuting, and a 6 percent reduction in faculty commuting. This translates to a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since the last report in 2011.

Keener is excited about the effectiveness of the dashboards as a monitoring tool, which will allow students, staff, faculty and the public to follow L&C’s continued progress toward energy reduction goals.

“Users can explore a map that highlights several ‘green features’ on campus, like our electric vehicle charge stations, filtered water bottle fillers and native landscaping,” Keener said. “So the next time we report our Greenhouse Gas Inventory, everybody will already know how well we are performing. We think the dashboards will spark competitiveness and challenge people to implement energy saving practices, just to see if they can make the meter move. Even small changes can make a big difference, and the dashboards will give us a chance to experiment with the effectiveness of various strategies like smart power strips and ‘eco-buttons.’”

The dashboards will be officially launched during the upcoming Kick-Off Event, April 7, for the beginning of “Campus Conservation Nationals,” a nationwide energy reduction competition. L&C will be competing against colleges nationwide, but is currently engaged in a “competition pool” that includes several other Illinois Green Economy Network schools.

L&C’s Office of Sustainability is working with students, staff and faculty to select one building for concentration of energy reduction efforts. The Student Sustainability Association will help to promote the event and raise awareness around campus by hosting informational tables throughout the competition. All campus stakeholders, including members of the general public, will be able to track the college’s progress in this competition.

For more information about L&C’s green initiatives, visit www.lc.edu/green.