Column: Green Ideas

A major part of our carbon footprint living on this campus is our energy consumption. From the computer that I am writing this on to the lights in my room, we all use a significant amount of electricity. There are a lot of basic, simple things you can do. You can make (very simply) your dorm room more environmentally friendly. This week’s column is more of a list, so bear with me.

Turn off all lights when you aren’t using them. This means room, closet and even bathroom—provided that there are not people still in it … that might be kind of awkward. I’m not saying that you need to never use your lights or work in the dark (that might mess your homework up).

Additionally, make sure the lights in your room that you do have on are compact florescent ones. Sometimes people feel that these are too bright, but I’ve never had a problem with them and that also means less lights being used. (Note: If they are too bright, be careful if you drape cloths over them—it’s a major fire hazard.) Better yet, if it’s a nice day outside open your curtains and use the natural light.

Computers use an awful lot of energy when on—even searching the Internet consumes energy. Assuming you use a personal computer (if not, then you are being more environmental!) turn it off when you are not using it. Screen savers consume more energy than putting a computer to sleep, so if you have to keep the computer running turn it to sleep mode.

Other simple things include turning down the thermostat, using a power strip (and then turning it off to prevent phantom loads) and sharing electronics.

Its not rocket science. In fact, it’s really simple, really obvious—you just need to do it.