CSCC takes leadership role in energy efficiency program
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 03, 2013 | 698 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland State Community College is one of four higher education institutions partnering with Tennessee Valley Authority in their Energy Efficiency Program.

“We have been [saving energy] long enough now we feel like we need to stay in a leadership role,” said Allan Gentry, CSCC technology department chair. “We believe this will be real beneficial for us and the students who get involved.”

College and university administrators learn how to understand and track their campus energy use through the program. The goal is to pass this knowledge on to the students and future energy consumers. TVA said smart energy choices are learned through hands-on projects and integrated curriculum.

Bob Balzar, TVA vice president for energy efficiency and demand response, said in a recent press release, “...They have already dedicated significant resources to prioritize the wise use of energy and educate their communities about energy use and sustainability on campus.”

Gentry estimated Cleveland State’s learning curve is shorter than other schools who have not focused on energy conservation. He said energy auditing courses have been offered on a residential level for seven years.

The next step is taking lessons from the residential level and applying them to commercial-sized buildings.

CSCC will begin by addressing energy issues on its own campus, according to Gentry.

“We have comfort issues. Namely, rooms will be different temperatures. For example, heaters will be used in the middle of summer while another is using air conditioning,” Gentry said.

A similar situation occurs in the winter. Students and staff will sometimes manipulate individual room temperatures so both heating and AC are in use at the same time. Gentry said this makes the utilities’ price even more expensive than usual.

“If you are running the heater in the summertime then something is wrong,” Gentry said.

Cleveland State is geared up and ready to go, according to Gentry.

Campus sustainability leaders made up of faculty, staff and concerned members of the community will split up to tackle multiple projects throughout the year.

Gentry said student involvement is also encouraged.

“At the end of the process, students directly involved will become more knowledgeable,” Gentry said. “Getting students involved allows them to be communicators by speaking with their peers.”

Protecting the environment is a growing focus at CSCC.

“We really try to look at every resource the college comes in contact with, whether it is energy, irrigation, taking care of the landscape or using electric vehicles on campus,” Gentry said. “We consider just about anything with an environmental aspect.”

Effects of Cleveland State’s partnership with TVA could aid Cleveland, as well.

“It could potentially affect Cleveland,” Gentry said. “We will have a forum with faculty and staff each spring to discuss the findings. I can see how that will lead to more information being available to disseminate to the community.”

Gentry said the Cleveland State website will soon have a section dedicated to ideas on sustainability for those interested.