The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Auditing team aims to reduce energy and cost

With the beginning of a new school year, the administration has implemented new tactics to investigate how Guilford College can become a more sustainable and cost-conscious institution.

The new implementation has taken the form of an audit team made up of energy team support services assistant David Munro ‘09, energy data specialists Damien Markiewicz and Dustin Scott, and energy team intern and senior Alexis Goldman, who are all supervised by project manager Brett Hacker.

“The energy audit is a review of our current electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems,” said Hacker. “We make recommendations to better the efficiency of any of those systems.”

The auditing team has the daunting task of observing every building on campus and documenting the energy output for each building. The team has completed the auditing process for 13 of the 47 buildings.

“The process takes about one to two weeks to complete depending on the complexity of the energy systems of the buildings,” said Hacker.

Guilford received a grant from the state funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act after Jonathan Varnell, vice president for administration, wrote the grant proposal during the 2010-11 school year in conjunction with the Office of Advancement. The grant provides the funding for the team, which will have until April 20 to complete the auditing process.

Goldman broke down the auditing process into the basic steps: the team begins by looking at the energy-using systems in each building. They examine and observe plugs, appliances, mechanical systems, and air conditioning and heating systems.

“We determine a strategy to increase the efficiency of the system, with detailed savings and implementation costs,” Munro said concerning the steps of the auditing process.

“The Energy Audit is giving Guilford an opportunity to save money and be more sustainable,” said Goldman.

Goldman showed excitement about Guilford’s opportunity to make changes to the campus that will replace outdated systems with newer automated systems. The school will also implement changes to buildings if the energy auditing team calculates that the changes to the systems will result in a payback plan of two years.

The auditing team keeps one of the school’s main goals close to heart while it works on documenting its findings. The school currently spends on average $1.30-$1.60 per month for every square foot of physical building space on campus, and the auditing team is working hard to help the school achieve a goal of spending only one dollar per square foot.

Varnell explained the benefits of the energy auditing procedures.

“The audits are helping us get another evaluation of where we currently stand in terms of energy consumption after nine years of sustainability projects,” said Varnell. “The only way to address (possible energy reductions) is to identify them.”

Some of the buildings that the auditing team has examined thus far include Dana Auditorium, Duke Memorial Hall, Bauman, New Garden Hall, and Pope House.

Varnell spoke about the opportunities for the community to be involved in sustainability efforts on campus, but also spoke of stewardship more universally.

“It should be a cultural expectation,” Varnell said about the responsibility of people to live more sustainably and to take costs into consideration.  

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