Energy manager to promote efficiency

“As energy manager, Holland will work to establish collaborative committees among the consortium members to promote energy conservation and to avoid duplication of efforts from campus to campus,” according to Smith’s Web site.

According to the Five Colleges’ press release, this shared position is part of a two-year pilot effort funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, which is meant to encourage collaborative models in administration. This new position will aid the three colleges in improving energy conservation and purchasing energy-efficient utilities. According to the press release, the shared position would allow the schools to purchase energy more cheaply, negotiate better contracts, and identify over-consumption.

Holland said that he is thrilled with his new position and the opportunity it gives him to work with the administration, students and physical plant. “I was born in New England and I have a Yankee philosophy of doing as much with as little as possible,” he said. “I think that I can use that at Amherst. I want to change the way Amherst does business in the energy arena. I want to make things more efficient. Increased energy efficiency makes things more comfortable, more healthy and can also reduce emissions.”

In addition to improving the efficient use of energy, Holland hopes to assist physical plant. “Physical plant has lots of good ideas and projects which would help the school,” he said. “I can help get those projects going because I have the luxury of not being tasked with other responsibilities like keeping the lights on.”

Energy management and conservation have been subjects of discussion between the schools for several years. “Energy management and conservation have long been priorities for the physical plant for environmental and economic reasons,” said Director of Facilities Planning and Management Jim Brassord.

So far, the existing central plant and utilities infrastructure have been retrofitted with state-of-the-art conservation technologies in order to increase energy conservation on campus. “Our conservation efforts have primarily been focused on ‘supply side management’ where we strive to deliver the utilities to the end user in the most efficient manner possible,” said Brassord. “We have incorporated more energy efficient and sustainable features into the designs for building renovations and new construction projects.”

In order to improve the conservation of energy, the College has created several programs and has already made additions to existing utilities and buildings. New programs include a steam trap, which removes condensate without releasing steam, and a steam piping replacement program to prevent energy from being wasted.

According to Brassord, a computerized management program has been introduced to better control the buildings’ heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration systems. The College has also made energy efficient light and pipe insulation upgrades, in addition to upgrades which include computerized fuel injection and boiler controls to the Central Heating Plant.

The College is using improved door, window and insulation systems in newly renovated buildings and also will start using variable air volume systems. “[These will] achieve comfort levels in various areas within the building [to] utilize much lower volumes of air,” said Brassord.

The College is also in the process of replacing College vans–replacing larger pool vans with smaller, higher-mileage mini-vans.

According to Brassord, the energy manager will work to continue current initiatives at the three schools.

Brassord emphasized that individuals can assist in the conservation effort. “Individuals have the collective potential to greatly reduce the College’s energy demand by making good energy decisions such as turning of lights, using energy saver features on computers [and] closing windows,” he said.

Holland will help the College reduce its energy demand through awareness and conservation programs. These programs will allow students who are not aware of the effects of wasting energy to conserve more.

Students seem supportive of the College’s efforts. “I think the general idea of energy conservation is important at any school, but I think that Amherst and many other schools aren’t able to conserve because students don’t perceive that there is a crisis,” said Appleton Resident Counselor (RC) Roz Foster ’05.

Erika Tietjen ’07, an RC in Davis, believes that energy consumption may have a geographical element. “I’m sure people waste more energy than they should,” she said. “I am from California, and I think that people on the East Coast may not think about using energy like I do because they have not had as significant a reason to do so.”

Overall, Brassord is optimistic about the improvements that the new energy manager will bring in addition to collaborative efforts. “I think that [Holland] will be a great asset to the College, and I look forward to continued collaboration with him as well as the other colleges,” said Brassord.