West Hall wins national award in energy efficiency

West Hall wins national award in energy efficiency

West Hall wins national award in energy efficiency
February 21
12:28 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

After six years of upgrading the heating and cooling systems, replacing old lights with LED and florescent bulbs, fixing bricks on the outside and installing double-paned windows, UNT Sustainability and Facilities have earned the Energy Star award for West Hall.

“There were cracks on the bricks outside the building that were causing lots of problems,” facilities manager Monica Thomas said. “It was letting some bugs crawl in and was messing with how the inside of the building felt to people.”

The Energy Star is given out by the US Environmental Protection Agency to a building that exemplifies energy efficiency.

Though the award may be given to various kinds of buildings, only the top 25 percent of residence halls from colleges and universities may earn the award. Buildings who win the award normally use 35 percent less energy than average buildings.

West Hall is one of the buildings on campus helping raise energy awareness to the UNT community. UNT Sustainability and UNT Facilities are both hoping that making West Hall Energy Star certified will bring in more students and will lead the way to making other buildings on campus more adept to the Texas weather.

Before West Hall could be eligible for the award, members of UNT Sustainability had to go on the EPA website and put in information about West Hall’s energy output.

After being entered into the website, West Hall was compared to other residence halls throughout the nation. Only residence halls with a score of 75 or higher are eligible to be considered for the award – West Hall’s score was 88.

“We set up meters to measure the energy output in different residence halls,” Thomas said. “When you put information into the Energy Star website, you have to put actual instances of your output, not calculations.”

West Hall is the second residence hall in the state of Texas to earn the Energy Star. The first one was UNT’s Crumley Hall, which won the award back in 2010. Crumley’s plaque can be seen inside the front of the building and West’s award will be arriving soon.

“When you live in Texas, you obviously deal with unpredictable weather,” outreach coordinator Nicole Cocco said. “Water consumption consumes energy, and that makes energy bills go up.”

UNT Sustainability and UNT Facilities are both working to increase energy efficiency in more buildings on campus.

“Students are becoming aware of the benefits of being eco-friendly, and how it applies to college students especially,” UNT Sustainability operations coordinator Emily Hudson said. “Lowering the environmental impact of residence hall life not only saves the planet, but the university money, which in turn saves students money.”

Feature photo: West Hall won an award for it’s efforts to save energy. The Yaskawa Varispeed E7 are units that were installed within the last few years. These units help keep specific parts of the dorm at a constant 74 degree temperature, saving both money and energy in the long run. Photo by Dana Pisciottano / Intern Photographer 

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