Recent budget cuts and increasing energy costs are prompting the NIU administration to form an energy conservation and operations committee.
The committee is not a new idea. NIU formed an energy task force during the energy crisis of the 70s. The energy task force was disbanded in the early 80s, when energy prices dropped.
Rachel Vellenga, director of Student Association Recycling, said, “I wrote two letters to (NIU President John) La Tourette, asking for the reformation of the energy conservation committee.”
The committee will develop recommendations regarding energy policies and energy conservation strategies.
Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning, said, “The purpose of the committee is to seek out ways in which we can conserve energy.
“NIU spends in excess of $6 million a year on electricity and natural gas costs. It is to our advantage to come up with ways to conserve energy,” he said.
In a memo outlining the committee, Williams stated that it would be “specifically charged to provide strategies and policies that would allow the university to realize a minimum 5 percent savings in the utility base over and above what is realized as a result of weather considerations.”
James Harder, vice president of Business and Operations, said, “I support it (the committee), and think it is a good move. We need to do something in that area.”
“I am more interested in the environmental issues of energy conservation, but saving some money is good also,” Vellenga said.
“The committee will be able to come up with more technical ways to conserve energy,” Williams said. “For example, patterning the use of lights and appliances on campus.
“Every penny we cut back on energy costs will help us to strengthen academics,” he said.
The committee is in the final phases of formation, about 90 percent complete, Williams said. “We are still working on it now, and we are hoping to have our first meeting within the next two weeks,” he said.