by Becky Holcomb, staff writer
The Environmental Leadership Center Campus Greening Seed Grant Program was created to encourage and support students who initiate sustainability projects for our campus. Amelia Snyder and Rebecca Davis were recipients of one of these grants for their new light sensor project. This project will cut back on energy usage in Hamill science building by installing new motion sensor light switches. The lights that are currently in the building have no switches to turn them off in the day, even when natural light comes in through the windows and subsequently are left on at night for safety reasons. The new lights will be motion activated, and will only turn on when people are in the building. Synder says she first noticed the unnecessary consumption of energy while she worked on the BIO/ENS crew. She also spends a lot of time in the building while pursuing her chemistry and environmental studies majors. It is hard to determine how much energy will be saved by the change. According to Snyder, “It’s hard to calculate an exact amount of energy that will be saved because we don’t know how often people will be in the halls. This will hopefully act as a kind of experiment to see just how much energy we really could save. We can monitor electricity use of the science building to see if there is a significant change in use. If this is successful, we can use the results as an argument to buy more with an estimate of a payback period.” As of now, the lights have been ordered and electric crew will install them. Synder will work with peers Natasha Shipman and John Griffith to decide which hallway is the best location to put the lights. She expresses gratitude toward the Environmental Leadership Center for giving her this opportunity to help save energy and make a difference.