Campus Climate Challenge

Focus the Nation

Kill-A-Watt Competition

Go Cold Turkey

Energy Conservation

Million Monitor Drive


Farm Initiative




Energy Facts and Myths!

April 6, 2006

CFL means Compact Fluorescent Lamp. As a rule, CFLs use 1/4 the energy of incandescents, a 15-watt CFL replaces the standard 60-watter, with a slight boost in light output.

So saving 45 watts in a lamp that runs eight hours a day, nine months a year, will save ~100 kilowatt-hours. That's worth $12.50 and 140 lb of CO2, about the amount in the box!

MHC uses about 15,000,000 kWh of electricity per year. It takes 1250 kWh to light an average home for a year. Divide by 2100 students and that's over 7600 kWh, enough to light six homes. We consistently rank among our peers as one of the lowest energy uses per square foot.

At MHC there is about 700 square feet per student of indoor facility (a tad less than what the "average" US home has grown to). Our campus uses energy at approximately twice the rate of an average home, the economy of scale is offset by our having a lot more stuff to power and many more hours of activity.

Heating fuel use works out to 0.7 homes per student.

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Check out the Energy Consumption Graph for MHC from 1995 to 2000 (click to enlarge).

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At three area colleges we recently committed to a three-year purchase (starting 2006) of wind Renewable Energy Credits, for a total of 1,000,000 kWh per year:

Amherst College, Amherst MA: 238,000 kWh
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley MA: 287,000 kWh
Smith College, Northampton MA: 475,000 kWh

We have also implemented or approved proceeding with many other climate-friendly initiatives:

  • Two green buildings (LEED certified) built, one (LEED Silver) in final design
  • Using biodiesel to power grounds equipment
  • Implementing comprehensive list of energy efficiency measures
  • Planning expansion of existing cogeneration plant
  • Joined EPA's Million Monitor Drive

Information courtesy of the Five College Energy Manager, Todd Holland.

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What's in the box?

Enabling the power management features on one PC can save 200 kWh a year.

To generate 200 kWh, a power plant releases 130 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

One pound of carbon dioxide takes up 8.9 cubic feet at standard temperature and pressure.

The box is 10' wide, 10' deep, and 11'-6" high. 1150 cubic feet.

The box could hold 130 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Your computer monitor can prevent the amount of carbon dioxide that fits into that box from being emitted into the atmosphere in one year!!

Wouldn't you rather put one idle monitor to sleep and keep all that stuff out of the box?

Put one idle computer to sleep today, and bank on it tomorrow... more about Million Monitor Drive and Power Save Mode


Million Monitor Drive at MHC

LITS pledged 1500 monitors/screens by 2007
Students aiming for 1300 monitors/screens by November 22, 2005
Total: 2800 computer monitors/screens

Electricity savings annually
= 574,000 kWh
= enough to light 460 "average" homes for a year
= $49,000

Emissions offsets annually
(from the power plants that produce our electricity)
= 411 tons of carbon dioxide
= removing 71 cars from the road
= planting 112 acres of trees.

The students can put their CPU's on Power Save Mode by putting their hard disks to sleep and having the computer go into standby mode after extended periods of inactivity.

Increase the savings with CPU's
= 338,000 kWh
= enough to light an additional 270 homes
= $29,000

= CO2 offsets will increase by 242 tons
= 42 cars
= 66 acres of trees.

While these numbers are staggering by themselves, they will be multiplied by three if the efforts are successful at Amherst and Smith as well. The effort could save the three schools $220,000 a year. The total carbon reduction is projected at 1800 tons, like taking 320 cars off the road or plating 500 acres of trees.

Estimated savings based on the nine-month school year for students, 12 months for faculty and staff.

Just 19 computers set to sleep mode is equivalent to planting one acre of trees.
Just 30 computers set to sleep mode is equivalent to taking one car (and all its emissions) off the road.

To generate 200 kWh, the "average" New England power plant will emit 130 pounds of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), along with 75 grams of NOx (smog), 220 grams of SO2 (acid rain), and 28 milligrams of high-level radioactive waste (oy vey!). This electricity wasted is equivalent over 9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year or the emissions of 1.5 million automobiles. THAT'S FOR ONLY ONE COMPUTER.

On average, computers are used four hours per business day but continue to consume energy, even when idle. Power management permits computer monitors to enter “sleep mode” during extended periods of inactivity.

The 55 million computers and monitors in America use more electricity than all other forms of office equipment combined. Computer monitors waste over $900 million in electricity per year because:
* 60 percent of computers and monitors are left on at night; and
* 40 percent of monitors are not enabled for power management.

This electricity wasted is equivalent over 9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year or the emissions of 1.5 million automobiles.

Screen savers do not save energy and are no longer needed to protect the monitor. While in the power saving mode, screen savers continue to run in the background, in some cases, not allowing the monitor to sleep.

The ENERGY STAR Million Monitor Drive is a campaign to activate monitor power management on one million computers nationwide, and provides EZ Wizard and EZ Save software that enables monitor power management on an individual computer or from a central location.


PDF of Fast Facts: Monitor Power Management

Click here to view/download
One-page overview on monitor power management and the Million Monitor Drive at MHC. Courtesy of Nancy Apple, EMS office.


Campus Energy Initiative website

Campus Energy Initiative
Very good resource created by MHC students for MHC students and the outside community. Created by EnvSt 390 Senior Seminar, Spring 2004.

World and U.S. Energy

The Hirsch Report: Peaking of World Oil Production - this was a US Department of Energy funded report by a senior administrator on the risks of peak oil.

Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) - an international group of scientists and oil industry professionals who study oil depletion both regionally and globally.

Community Solution - a non-profit organization that shares information on community responses to peak oil.

Energy Bulletin - an excellent, regularly updated hub of energy and sustainability news with a peak oil background.

Courtesy of Kai Wu, graduate student from UMass


A WATT is a measure of power, typically associated with electricity. One WATT = 1 VOLT x 1 AMPERE (current).

A WATT-HOUR is the amount, or volume, of electricity consumed if One WATT of power is consumed for a period of one hour.

A 100 WATT lightbulb burns typically burns brighter than a 50 WATT light bulb because it uses more power (more WATTS).

A KILOWATT is equal to 1,000 WATTS. Once electrical consumption gets into the thousands of WATTS we use the KILOWATT, or Kw, as our unit of measure.

A MEGAWATT is equal to 1,000 KILOWATTS and is the unit of measure generally associated with power plants. It's a lot of electricity.

Back to the 100 WATT lightbulb:

It is supplied with 120 volts (the normal voltage of a house) of AC electricity when you turn on the switch. The ammount of current, or Amperes, it sucks up in order to get hot enough to emit light is .83 amps. Using the formula POWER(WATTS) = VOLTS x AMPS, we get; 100 WATTS = 120volts x .83amps.

Were you to leave this light ON for 1 hour, the total amount of electricity consumed would be 100 WATT-HOURS, or .1 KILOWATT-HOURS.

Were you to leave the light ON for 10 hours, you would have used 1 KILOWATT-HOUR (Kwh) of electricity.

Leave it ON for 100 hours and you've burned 10 Kwh's of electricity.


Website maintained by Nika Meyers ('11)
Last updated March 15
, 2007 November 15, 2008