CNM Sustainability Efforts Save College Thousands of Dollars

May 3, 2017 -- Sustainability initiatives at CNM appear to be saving the college hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of kilowatt hours, says Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab and Sustainability Project Manager.

May 03, 2017

Between 2015 and 2016, CNM reduced electricity emissions by 2,774,283 kilowatt hours, amounting to $784,124 in cost savings.

“This total savings is apparently due to a number energy conservation programs CNM has implemented,” Blumhoefer said.  “The college is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and to serving our students through leading by example.”

This data may include other variables such as buildings going off line for renovations and climate variations. Blumhoefer noted that it’s currently hard to isolate the data, but analyses of individual, isolated buildings show an increased reduction in energy emissions and utility savings.

Some of the energy conservation programs that may have impacted cost savings include:

  • A new computer “sleep and inactivity mode.” Computers go into “hibernate” mode after two hours of inactivity and into “sleep” mode after 20 minutes.  Users must log out, even if the screen has gone already dark, or another user will not be able to log in. This is especially pertinent in computer labs.
  • Staggering schedules for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC) systems so that they no longer come on and turn off at the same time.
  • Resetting thermostats to comply with state energy standards for comfort levels and energy savings.
  • Strategic, more efficient scheduling of classroom and event spaces to maximize energy savings when the spaces are not in use. The changes are continuing to be made to create a more sustainable campus culture.
  • Installation of energy-misers on all campus beverage vending machines that monitor building temperature and building occupancy. If 15 minutes goes by without any people passing by, the machine powers down. The machine powers back up at intervals to keep beverages cold and are triggered by building occupants that walk in front of the sensors.

“These may not seem like huge changes, but taken together, they are making a large contribution,” Blumhoefer said. “Through these measures, CNM is showing that it is a good steward of taxpayer dollars and to other entities that help fund our institution. CNM must continue trying to save money during difficult financial times.”

She added, “CNM needs continued support of faculty, staff and students to maintain these efforts for the environment and to show that we are financially responsible and that we support progress and environmentally conscious students. We need to continue to adapt to both environmental and economic changes in order to lead our community in the right direction.”