Alumnus, Students to Conduct Energy Audit at Hopkins
On Friday, Nov. 4, Peregrine "Pepper" White Jr., a 1979 graduate of Hopkins who owns LCI Energy, a Massachusetts- based consulting firm, will donate his services and train members of Students for Environmental Action on how to conduct an energy efficiency audit. Following the morning training session, groups of SEA members will visit 10 or more buildings on campus, identifying inefficient uses of energy and looking for ways to improve them.
NOTE: Journalists are welcome to accompany White or any of the audit groups. Call Ken Keatley, (410) 516-7907, for details.
"We'll be looking for quick payback things, like leaving on lights and computers when not in use," said White. "The idea of energy conservation is pretty simple in practice: shut things off when they're not being used."
The audit sprang from a meeting White had in April with Charles ReVelle, professor of geography and environmental engineering, while on campus for his 15-year reunion. At about the same time, junior mechanical engineering major Eric Lee, president of Hopkins' SEA, was attending a Campus Earth Summit meeting at Yale University, where energy audits were discussed.
"I wanted our club this year to do more to reduce energy consumption at Hopkins," Lee said. "Dr. Revelle, who is our advisor, thought (White) might be able to help us. I wrote him a letter, and he agreed to donate a day of his time."
Dr. Revelle, whose solar-powered office lighting is the result of a prior SEA project, praised the efforts of Hopkins administrators and students in supporting the audit.
"This will be a great educational experience for all of us," Dr. ReVelle said.
Robert Schuerholz, executive director of facilities management for all Hopkins campuses, is welcoming the opportunity to continue his longstanding commitment to energy conservation.
"This audit will be a good way for students to learn, and provide some motivation for our operations staff," said Schuerholz. "If everybody responds to their suggestions, we could drop our utilities bill a couple of percent."
Schuerholz added that the Homewood campus has saved about $40 million since 1973, due to such energy conservation methods as installing sophisticated heat recovery devices on boilers and utilizing a computerized energy management system to reduce consumption during peak hours.
Currently, a $3.4 million chiller plant is under construction near the Bloomberg Center. The plant will make and melt iceberg-sized blocks of ice to provide much of the air conditioning and other cooling needs for the Homewood campus. It is estimated that the plant will save the university $400,000 annually in electricity use.
Lee hopes ideas and suggestions culled from the audit will be similarly successful, both financially and in raising environmental consciousness of students, faculty and staff.
"This is exciting for me," Lee said. "We have been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm on campus."
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