CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Prairie State College was selected as one of four community colleges in the state participating in the Behavior Change for Energy Efficiency Pilot Program, intended to reduce energy usage through the implementation of energy monitoring and behavior change techniques.
The program is funded through a grant awarded to the Illinois Green Economy Network by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
As part of the pilot program, an energy dashboard system was installed in the Health/Tech Center to monitor real time gas and electric usage. Additionally, smart power strips that automatically turn off all peripheral devices (printers, monitors, etc.) after 11 hours were installed. The smart power strips also provide a one-touch option to power down devices upon leaving for the day, conserving additional energy between the hours of work ending and the automatic shut down.
The project is conducted in conjunction with a research component by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which includes modeling of the Health/Tech Center, monitoring energy usage and changes in the building, and conducting surveys to examine current energy attitudes and behaviors.
“One of the most exciting and important things about this project is its collaborative nature,” said Allessandra Cairo, sustainability coordinator at PSC. “Multiple departments on campus were heavily involved in making it a success, including facilities and operations, information technology, student life, and marketing and communications, as well as students from the Bloom High School green team and local residents of Chicago Heights.”
“With this collaboration, this project goes beyond energy efficiency and the walls of PSC and shows the role sustainability can play in an institution such as ours,” she added.
For more information on the dashboard or PSC’s sustainability efforts, visit prairiestate.edu/sustainability.