NIU tabulates total energy savings

By Matt Michalek

With the weather warming up, and winter 1992 becoming a memory, NIU is tabulating the total savings of energy costs.

Physical Plant Director John Gardner said overall the savings on gas and electricity costs are $450,000 to $500,000.

“The savings were partly because of the mild winter, partly because the bottom dropped out on gas prices and partly because the commerce commission froze a 4 percent rate increase on electricity costs,” he said.

As spring rapidly approaches, the buildings on campus will start to switch from heating to air conditioning. There is no set date when the switch occurs. The physical plant turns the heat off and the air conditioning on according to the weather.

“The weather determines when we turn off the heat. If the thermostats in the buildings say it is warm enough, the heat gets turned off,” Gardner said.

NIU Weather Service Director Eric Helgeson said, “We can’t say exactly when the weather will warm up, but in past years it has warmed up enough to turn off the heat at the beginning of April.”

With the switch from heating to air conditioning, the distribution of energy costs also changes. In the summer, the electricity costs rise as the gas costs drop, Gardner said.

“The electricity bills are highest during the months of June, July, August and September,” Gardner said. “Overall, though, we still spend less during the summer months on energy than during January or February.”

During the spring, students, staff and faculty can help NIU save money on energy costs.

Gardner said, “Simple things like keeping the windows closed when it is hot out, so we don’t air condition the outside air” will help. “Basically people just need to use their common sense to save energy.”