To Save Energy, College Bans Mini-Fridges

weygandBridgewater State College in Massachusetts has banned the use of dorm room mini-fridges in its new residence as it targets higher LEED ratings, reports The Atlantic Cities.

The George A. Weygand Hall, designed by architecture firm Perkins+Will, was mandated by the state to achieve at least a LEED Silver rating. But, largely due to its impressive energy efficiency, the firm now expects the building to win LEED Gold certification, the web site reports.

Mini-fridges are “by far” the biggest consumers of energy plugged into to the walls by students, according to David Damon, an associate principal at the firm. In their stead, Perkins+Will have installed full-size Energy Star-compliant fridges in every suite of four to six students, the web site reports.

Eliminating the mini-fridges should save the university about 4 kbtu of energy per square foot per year, translating to about $16,000 per year, according to the news outlet. The $53,000 spent for the full-size fridges will be payed back in less than three years.

According to the firm’s energy analysis, the mini-fridge ban ranks third on a list of the building’s eight innovations that save the most energy. A “geo-exchange system” – a series of underground wells that help with temperature control and improved insulation will both save more energy.

Energex, a Vancouver, BC, developer of occupancy sensors installed 275 sensors across two residence buildings at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, the company announced in January.

The project reduced energy consumption by nearly 150,000 kWh between August and November 2012. As a result, utility costs for both buildings were reduced by over $26,000. It is projected that the system will pay for itself within two years, after which Conestoga College will continue to receive the cost savings resulting from reduced energy consumption.

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