VIU students offer energy ideas

University eyes ways to implement winning suggestions.

Travis Martin didn’t have to look far for a bright idea when Vancouver Island University held a contest to find inspiration for a way to save energy.

The third-year student from Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, had an Earth Science class in VIU’s Faculty of Management building, which is often bathed in sunlight.

Martin suggests a ‘natural-lighting’ campaign for the university with students, faculty and staff encouraged to turn off the lights when the sun is already doing the job.

The suggestion is one of 225 ideas submitted to the Energy Conservation Contest.

“There was quite an astounding response. You can see that people really care and notice what’s going on at the university,” said Michele Patterson, manager of environment and sustainability for VIU.

Martin is one of five winners in the contest. His entry was judged best in the Behaviour Change category.

The university is investigating how to implement the winning suggestions, and many of the other excellent ideas received in order to help meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets and to save money spent on gas and electricity.

Other winners, and their suggestions, are:

u Christine Sheppard (Short Term Operational Improvements): Turn the heat down by at least two degrees in every room and building.  It is easy enough to put on a sweater.

u LA Shibish (Long Term Planning and Capital Improvements): Perform a scan of the buildings using infrared technology to identify areas where there are large quantities of heat escaping during the winter months.  From the data collected, prioritize the buildings for a preventative heat loss program.

u Cody Broda and Corbin Gislason (Long Term Planning and Capital Improvements Special Award for Detailed and Costed Submission): Harness and re-use heat energy emitted by the waste systems of the school cafeterias (dishwasher pipes/ovens, furnace exhausts). The cafeteria uses lots of energy to heat ovens, cook food, and to run dishwashers.

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