Motion sensor lighting in Lord/Saunders

The Green EDGE Fund
Proposal Template
 
Name: Maya Shulman-Ment   
Email: mayasment@gmail.com   
Student/Professor/Staff/Other: Student
Major/Year: History/Senior
 
Source of Funding (Please Check One):             Efficiency Loan            

Background/Objective of the Project:
Provide information regarding the objective of the project and some background as to why you see this project being a valuable addition.
 Proposed: that the Green EDGE fund invest in motion sensor lighting for the hallways of Lord and Saunders dormitories.
The four dormitories of Lord, Saunders, Harvey and Price each consume a much greater amount of electricity per capita than any other dormitories on campus. There are many potential explanations of why this phenomenon takes place, however, a simple walk-through of Lord and Saunders dormitories proves that the hallway lights in these two dormitories are left on at all hours, and there are no light switches to control the hallway lights. Many other dorms on campus have motion detection systems that regulate the lighting in hallways. These motion detection systems are generally very effective, and allow for the lights to be off for the majority of any given night or other time when the dormitory is unoccupied. A general trend of adding improvements to Lord and Saunders dormitories well after they are standard in other campus dorms is well documented. 
Monetary Costs/Benefits (Carbon and Energy Savings):
What are the estimated energy savings? Please explain how these estimates were reached and cite respected sources.
I looked around a great deal at different options for motion sensor lighting systems, and was unable to find a consistent price average. Prices ranged from as low as $30 per unit to around $85. Because of the disparity in pricing, I am reluctant to provide a full cost-benefit analysis. College Facilities would have to be contacted to obtain information regarding motion detection lighting systems already in place around campus. Because the installation of these systems is a process with which the Facilities department is already well acquainted, it would be best to use their data to analyze the potential payback of this project.
Additional Benefits:
Describe any additional environmental or social benefits associated with your project that are not necessarily quantifiable in terms of dollars or resources?
 I believe that it is of the utmost importance, if we are expecting students living in a given dorm to care about the energy consumption of their living space, to prove our commitment on an institutional level to efficiency. A group of students living in a space, who feel their dormitory has been neglected, has not received badly needed maintenance and repairs, will not invest their own time and efforts into reducing their carbon impact. Placing efficiency measures in Lord and Saunders dorms would be a relatively cheap way of signaling to these students that their living space is important, and that the efforts they may make to improve the efficiency of their lifestyles are being reflected on a broader institutional level.
Visibility/Educational Value:
Describe the visibility of the project to the Oberlin community and beyond as well as any educational benefits it possesses. If there are none, could they be added and at what cost?
 The visibility of this project would be limited to the students living in the dormitories in question; however, for these students the project would be highly visible and noticeable. Students I have spoken to who live in Lord or Saunders have experienced a need to block the edges of their doors to be able to sleep at night, because the light from the hallway is bright enough to seep in through the cracks around their doors. This type of quality of life improvement also has implications for energy efficiency, because people who care about and are invested in their living spaces are more likely to positively engage in efficiency efforts.
Equity/# of people benefitting:
How do you see the benefits of the project being spread across the Oberlin community? Are there certain groups that benefit disproportionally?
 This project is certainly geared towards a particular group of students. However, because these students live in one of the least efficient buildings on campus, it is not a bad idea for the image of the college for the Green EDGE fund to be investing in efficiency improvements in this building. Also, it would be possible that the change in technology could be posted on the Dorm Energy Competition website, as an explanation as to why the Lord/Saunders efficiency has improved. This would potentially have educational benefits for the whole campus.
Implementation:
Outline how you envision the implementation of the project.  Who will be involved?  Will it require maintenance?
This would be a fairly simple project. The college facilities office would have to research technology options, get the funding approved, and install the motion sensors.
Difficulties and Risks:
Please explain areas of uncertainty associated with the implementation and/or outcome of the project. How difficult will it be to execute? What are the risks?
It is very difficult to pinpoint the hallway lighting in Lord/Saunders as the sole cause of the greater inefficiencies associated with this dormitory. While the motion sensors would undoubtedly increase the efficiency of the dormitory, it is difficult to say whether or not this particular improvement measure would have a noticeable effect on the per-person consumption chronicled by the Dorm Energy Monitoring System.
Other funding sources:
Have you sought funding or plan to seek funding from any other sources?  If this project is not funded by the EDGE fund will it still go forward?
I have not sought any alternative funding. This is a project that may happen, in time, because the college will renovate the dorm in a number of years. However, the Green EDGE fund is in a unique position to make this happen within a short time frame.
Additional Comments:
Is there anything else you’d like to let us know?
Thank you for the consideration of the proposal! I am currently working with a group of students from the ENVS 322: Energy and Society class who are looking into the causes for the sharp discrepancy between Lord/Saunders and other dorms on campus. We would be happy to present our findings and recommendations to the Green EDGE fund when the project is complete. 
 

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