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UA News

UA, state of Arizona committed to avoiding energy crisis

By Brian B. Gruters

Wednesday August 22, 2001 |

Likins calling for campuswide assistance with energy conservation

In an attempt to avoid the same fate as California, the UA is taking measures to ensure it conserves energy, avoiding possible brownouts as the campus community reconvenes for the beginning of the school year.

The University of Arizona also has a strong ally in the state of Arizona. On May 15, Governor Jane Dee Hull released "The Smart Energy Usage" plan, which states: "To help increase the state's electricity reserve margins, the order calls for state agencies to take immediate steps to reduce the state's electricity demand and usage."

Tips on how to conserve energy:
  • If you are the last person to leave a room, turn out the lights.
  • Shut down computers when not in use for more than an hour. If this is not practical, at least turn your monitor off.
  • Turn off or unplug appliances that are not in use, such as hotplates, coffee-makers, lab equipment, sound equipment and battery chargers.
  • Turn off appropriate office equipment if it does not automatically power down at the end of the day.
  • Keep building doors and windows closed.

In response to this plan, UA President Peter Likins released a memo in July calling for assistance in conservation of resources at the UA.

Al Tarcola, director of UA Facilities Management, has appointed a seven-member group - the Energy Conservation Task Force - to pursue Likins' recently proposed energy conservation objective.

Using outreach aimed at faculty, staff and students, members of the task force said they hope to gain support for an increase in schoolwide energy conservation.

"We don't want to be in the same mess as California," Gloria E. Alvillar, Assistant Director of Human Resources for UA Facilities Management and a member of the ECTF, said. "With all the research that goes on here, we can't afford power outages."

California's recent energy crisis has become an important issue in Southwestern states, particularly in Arizona, because of the amount of electricity contributed to the California grid by hydroelectric power from the Colorado River.

The results of proposed conservation have been mixed. While campus facilities may be trying to cut down on power usage, students who live on campus and in the university area have been slow to follow.

"I haven't heard anything (about energy conservation)," David Carol, a media arts senior, said. "(ECTF) should (send) a mass e-mail to resident assistants, desk assistants and hall directors. Most of us have our computers on all day."

However, indicating that the efforts of the ECTF have not gone unnoticed, there are students who have responded earnestly to its request for "Energy Stewards," students who assist in the conservation effort by raising awareness of improvements that can be made in residence halls and classrooms around campus.

Due to record-low rainfalls in the Northwest that have depleted hydroelectricity production in California, the state's abnormally high demand for electricity and the presence of an inadequate energy transmission infrastructure in Western states, there is some fear that California's recent power crisis may soon become a real presence in Arizona.

For example, Alvillar said the UA's annual electric bill is already near $12 million.

But "none of them pay the bill," she said, referring to the students, faculty and staff toward which the campaign is aimed.

"Even if the governor had not asked us to do this, we would have done it." Alvillar said in a press release. "Energy conservation means so much to us, not only for the present but more importantly for the future. It is great that President Likins and his administrators are supporting the task force in its important work."


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