Friday, February 22, 2008

Sustainable Saunders

Photo: The Sustainable Saunders Team, KaLeo

Think your electricity bill is high? Every month, the University of Hawaii pays $1.5 million for electricity, and there is a group of students who get that part of their tuition is going towards paying that bill. Sustainable Saunders is the name of a group of University of Hawaii students dedicated to campus sustainability. The UH has selected Saunders Hall as a pilot project to convert the building into a sustainable model, measure the results, and roll out other sustainable projects on campus into the future.

The Sustainable Saunders team testified before the House Finance Committee last evening. They were testifying on HB2166 which appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii to help finance the conversion of Saunders Hall as a community model of sustainability and energy conservation.

Saunders Hall is a 7-story concrete building that houses 12 academic departments, research units, classrooms and staff offices. The building uses approximately 2.4 million kilowatt hours annually which results in a charge of $384,000. The electricity expense is only expected to go higher. The group obtained a preliminary energy efficient audit. According to the audit recommendations, if the University installed various conservation and renewable energy measures, at the cost of $1,024,000, the energy load at Saunders would be reduced by 39%, and the renovation would pay for itself in 6 and 1/2 years.

Photo: Shanah Trevenna of Sustainable Saunders, Ka Leo

The bill passed out of Finance with amendments. To find out more about Sustainable Saunders, here's the link to their website.

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