KALAMAZOO, Mich. — An eight-day winter recess at Western Michigan University comes to an end on Thursday, Jan. 2.
During the winter break using WMU’s sophisticated building energy management system, more than 3,000 thermostats across the campus were dialed back to 55 degrees late in the day Dec 24 with a single mouse click by Jan Van Der Kley, WMU vice president for business and finance. The setback affected 75 campus buildings and some 5,000 pieces of mechanical equipment.
“We need to be good stewards of the University’s resources and a model for campus sustainability,” said Van Der Kley as she dialed back temperatures campuswide from the University’s Campus Facilities command center.
Lowering the building space temperatures from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 was originally estimated to avoid spending $140,000, saving 8 billion BTU’s of energy, which is the equivalent to 430 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The precise final tally will be known after the University reopens, says Peter Strazdas, WMU associate vice president for facilities management. The temperature reduction was carefully planned to avoid impacting animal and research spaces on campus.
Temperatures across the campus will return to a normal range in preparation for offices to open at 8 a.m. Thursday.