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Energy Conservation Guidelines

Hollins University first established formal Energy Conservation Guidelines in January 2006 and updated them in October 2007 to incorporate references to our participation with the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and other "green" expectations. As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Hollins has completed a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions, and developed an institutional action plan for becoming carbon neutral.

Upon the completion of our carbon footprint calculations (September 2008) we found that our footprint was 14,991 short tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (TCDE) in 2002/2003. Moreover, the bulk of our greenhouse gas emission, 67% of our footprint, comes from our electricity usage as the electricity for our region is generated primarily (88.3%) from the burning of coal. Thus this document begins with guidelines that will lower campus electricity usage. The Energy Use Guidelines below are followed with those for Water Use, Purchasing, Construction, Landscaping, New Construction/Renovation, Transportation, and Recycling. The resource conservation guidelines in this document are meant to help us use our resources in the most sustainable ways available to us and reach our ultimate goal of carbon neutrality.


Energy Guidelines

Hollins University spends over $1.5 million dollars annually on energy (electricity and natural gas). As a result, it is imperative that the campus adhere to guidelines that promote the conservation of energy. This will result in savings that can be allocated to other areas of the university in addition to conserving our natural resources. Although energy conservation is the focus of these guidelines, comfortable work and study conditions must also be achieved.


Temperature Guidelines

To maintain reasonable comfort and lower energy expenditures, the university has established the following standards for heating and cooling. Summer thermostat settings (air conditioning) are to be 74-76° F. Winter settings (heating) are to be 68-70° F. Exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the director of plant operations.


Building Resource Management

Windows and exterior doors should be kept closed during the heating season and during the summer in those areas that have central air conditioning. Every member of the university community should assume the responsibility of closing windows, turning off office equipment when not in use, shutting off the lights when leaving a room, and turning off personal (desktop) computers at the end of each day (see computer use).

Schedulers of classes, meetings, and other campus activities should endeavor to minimize energy use. Evening classes should be concentrated in the fewest buildings possible, and where appropriate, the buildings used should be those that already have late night temperature setback. Use of stairs rather than elevators, except for the physically challenged and persons transporting heavy equipment or materials, is encouraged.



Interior lighting will be fluorescent, whenever possible. New energy-saving bulbs, fixtures, lamps, and ballasts will be used to replace existing less efficient lighting whenever economically feasible and appropriate. Exterior lighting will be PL or metal halide (metal halide is preferred) whenever possible, and will meet minimum current safety requirements. Decorative lighting will be kept to a minimum. Lighting levels recommended by the most recent edition of the IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) Lighting Handbook shall be used as guidelines.


Space Heaters

Use of a space heater must be approved in advance by the director of plant operations. Whether they are purchased by the university or personal property, two issues affect the use of space heaters in campus buildings — fire safety and energy efficiency. All space heaters used on campus must be approved for fire safety, as classified by the National Fire Protection Association. No liquid fueled space heaters (e.g., kerosene heaters) shall be used in any residential, office, classroom or research buildings. Some electric space heaters also pose an unacceptable fire hazard. All space heaters must meet the following four specifications: Heaters must (1) be UL approved, (2) have elements that are protected from contact, (3) be tilt-proof (when tipped over, heater goes off), and (4) be thermostat-controlled. The issue of energy efficiency is also important — electric space heaters are a very costly means of heating. Units must be Energy Star rated. If a member of the campus community feels that a space heater is necessary for adequate warmth, this may indicate that the central heating system needs repair. The Maintenance Department should be consulted if the central heating system is incapable of meeting comfort requirements. Maintenance should also be contacted if a space heater is to be used to offset excessive air conditioning. Heating and cooling are not allowed simultaneously in the same space for the sole purpose of achieving comfort. Excessive cooling of a space on campus below the summer University Temperature Guidelines should be reported to Plant Operations so that air-conditioning levels can be adjusted.


Window Air Conditioning Units

Window air conditioning units may be used in buildings that do not have central air conditioning. Window units that have temperature control must follow the summer University Temperature Guidelines. Additionally, operating a unit in air conditioning mode when the outside air temperature is below 50° will quickly damage the unit. The director of plant operations must approve a new installation or replacement of a window unit. Specific petitions for installation will be reviewed only after Plant Operations has determined that the primary heating/cooling source is not capable of meeting University Temperature Guidelines. Every member of the university should assume responsibility for turning off window air conditioning units when leaving for the day, the weekend, or vacation.


Switchover from Heating to Cooling

Plant Operations personnel perform the required changeover from heating to air-conditioning in the spring. Because of the varying equipment installed throughout campus, buildings must be changed over individually. Plant Operations performs the changeover on the basis of priorities established to (1) provide comfort to students living in residence halls, (2) maintain required temperatures to protect equipment and research in progress, and (3) serve the greatest number of individuals and activities. Air conditioning may not begin until outside temperature has reached 75°F for seven consecutive days. Temperature projections are also considered. The wide swings in temperature during the spring of the year and the difficulty in switching between heating and cooling make this policy necessary. Special problems or hardships with this policy should be addressed to the vice president for finance and administration.


Holiday Periods

A period of closure for the university offers a great opportunity to save money on utilities that can be spent in other areas. Past history has shown that very few people occupy the buildings for any substantial time during the holidays. With this in mind, buildings will be only minimally heated/cooled during holiday periods. The exception to the policy will be buildings that contain special collections or sensitive equipment, or buildings that are officially open during the holidays. A building will not be officially open just because a few people may want to work during the holidays. Requests for exceptions to this policy with justification should be addressed to the vice president for finance and administration.


Computer Use

In order to reduce unnecessary computer power consumption the following power management settings were made to all computers on campus during the summer of 2009.

After 15 minutes of inactivity the computer will be put on Standby. ("Standby reduces the power consumption of your computer by cutting power to hardware components you are not using. Standby can cut power to peripheral devices, your monitor, even your hard drive, but maintains power to your computer's memory so you don't lose your work." Pressing a key on the keyboard or jiggling the mouse will quickly bring the computer out of Standby. Caveat: Because Standby does not save your desktop state to disk, a power failure can cause unsaved information to be lost.)

After 60 minutes of inactivity the computer will be put in Hibernation. ("Hibernate saves an image of your desktop with all open files and documents, and then it powers down your computer. When you turn on power, your files and documents are open on your desktop exactly as you left them." To bring your computer out of Hibernate, you must touch the on/off switch lightly. Note: In this case, a power failure will not cause unsaved information to be lost.)

In October of 2006 the university committed to reduce campus-wide paper consumption. As part of that effort, the default printing settings for the MFP's have been set to duplex printing. The campus community is encouraged to look for other ways to reduce paper use. Hollins provides each student with 1,000 free pages each school year. In order to limit the use of excessive student printing, as of fall 2011, students will be charged for any copies made over 1,000.



Any leaks in restrooms, kitchens or radiators should be immediately reported to the Maintenance Department. Continuous standing water outside could be an indication of a leaking pipe and this should be reported to the maintenance department as well. Timing of Outdoor Irrigation — Watering should occur at night or during pre-dawn hours to minimize water losses from evaporation. Outdoor watering should not occur during precipitation events. Sprinkler spigots should be positioned in such a way as to maximize water contact with vegetation and minimize contact with non-vegetated areas. In the event of a drought, campus watering will be limited before a mandate is issued.

Hollins Dining Services conserves water through "trayless" dining.

Hollins made a commitment in 2010 to reduce the use of plastic water bottles in vending machines and at events where alternatives are available. Hollins encourages the use of reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.


New Construction/Renovation

The university will seek to reduce future energy costs in new facility construction and renovation whenever feasible. Current standards outlined in ASHRAE Standard No. 90.1 Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings except Low Rise Residential Buildings will be followed as closely as possible. Additionally, all city and state regulations will be followed. All planning for major construction and equipment purchase/installation must include energy life cycle costing.

In October 2007, Hollins established a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent. Energy efficiency also guides our building renovations.



Hollins is committed to the use of native plants in landscape design, fertilizer reduction, alternate methods for disposing of stable waste, and protecting natural habitats.



Ride SolutionsHollins encourages the use of public and/or shared transportation for faculty, staff, and students. Carpooling opportunities for employees are available through RIDE Solutions, a regionally sponsored carpooling network (http://www.ridesolutions.org). Students have access to a Ride Board Program and Weekend Shuttle Service through the office of Student Affairs.

Hollins is a pedestrian campus where golf carts are used by departments who need to travel between buildings for maintenance, etc.

Please refer to Hollins' Car Rental Policy for information on fuel efficient options when possible.

Hollins has established annual reporting guidelines for air travel in order to collect air mileage data supported by university funds. Faculty members should contact Betty Dooley, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs about how to report this information.



As a signatory of the American College & University President's Climate Commitment, Hollins requires the purchase of ENERGYSTAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist (from appliances to light bulbs). Hollins is further committed to the use and purchase of environmental and socially responsible materials and products. Please refer to the Purchasing Policy on my.hollins for guiding principles and environmentally and socially responsible considerations when purchasing. It is the responsibility of anyone authorized to purchase goods and supplies to maintain the highest level of integrity and stewardship of university funds and to support our commitment to environmental sustainability.


Reducing Waste and Recycling

Employees are encouraged to recycle. Hollins provides bins for the collection of plastic, aluminum, newspaper, mixed paper, and glass. The Hollins Recycling Program separates and delivers items to the appropriate destinations on campus. For more information about recycling on campus, contact one of the recycling coordinators:

Food waste is composted through dining services.