York community’s Unplug efforts pay off

Building on the success of the 2010 holiday break, York maintained the five per cent reduction of energy use it achieved in 2009. However, unlike 2009, where the many improvements to campus buildings, such as lighting retrofits, made a significant impact, 2010’s energy reduction can be attributed to the actions of the York community.

Some star performers in Yorkwise’s Unplug Initiative on the Keele campus decreased their energy use significantly, including the Lumbers Building, which reduced its consumption by a whopping 20.38 per cent during the holiday shutdown compared to the previous year.

The Accolade West Building decreased its energy consumption by the next highest amount, 19.58 per cent, followed by Stong College with a reduction of 17.43 per cent and Founders College with a decrease of 17.15 per cent, which is huge considering it was up 18 per cent during the 2009 holiday break.

Other reductions:

  • Vanier College: 10.76 per cent
  • York Lanes: 8.11 per cent
  • Computer Science & Engineering Building: 7.38 per cent
  • Centre for Film & Theatre: 7.01 per cent
  • Student Centre: 6.8 per cent
  • McLaughlin College: 6.08 per cent
  • Farquharson Building: 5.75 per cent
  • Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building: 5.11 per cent
  • Scott Library: 2.89 per cent.

“We are pleased with the Unplug results this year because it shows that we are all being mindful of our energy usage and taking steps to reduce consumption. This will be increasingly important over the next year because of a Ministry of Energy electricity regulatory amendment  that modifies how costs will be distributed,” says Helen Psathas, senior manager, Environmental Design & Sustainability, Campus Services & Business Operations. “This change will likely adversely impact our electricity costs next year. How we manage, and more importantly, how we reduce our use of power, particularly during peak demand – the hottest days of the year – will now have a huge impact.”

This is the fourth year of York’s Energy Management Program and the University is more than halfway to reaching its 25 per cent energy reduction goal. The more people unplug and switch off before leaving the office for the evening, weekend or vacation, the more energy consumption will continue to decrease.

For more information, visit the Yorkwise website and look for the Unplug icon. For information on reducing your own carbon footprint, visit the Zerofootprint website, which offers a free and easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator.