With great power comes even greater electricity costs.
Walking around campus and seeing that our holiday lights are beginning to be strung all around has made me even more excited to know that the holiday season is approaching, and having experienced the beauty of the holiday lights and the atmosphere they bring to this campus, I am truly counting down the days for Harding’s annual lighting ceremony on the Front Lawn on Monday, Nov. 27.
Although I am joyfully anticipating seeing this campus illuminated in beautiful white lights again, I dread the thought of just how much power will supply them.
While holiday lights have been a long, time-honored tradition during the winter season, what many people fail to realize is just how much these lights may be costing us and our environment.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity generation is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.. Although electricity is a clean and relatively safe form of energy, the generation and transmission of electricity does have environmental impacts.
To be mindful of our environment, the thousands of lights Harding uses to illuminate the campus are all LED lights. Compared to traditional lighting, LED lights are up to 80 percent more efficient and better for our environment. However, even LED lights at this large quantity still have a negative effect, and we should be mindful of that.
I know it’s difficult to be aware of the cost of electricity, especially because it’s almost always at our disposal. We turn our lights on with a flick of a switch without thinking twice about our actions. When our phone battery is dying, it becomes an instant panic to try to locate an outlet.
Most of us aren’t even aware of the cost of electricity because many of us are living on campus and not receiving a monthly electric bill.
In a typical college or university dorm building, lighting represents about 30 percent and space heating about 28 percent of total energy use, making those systems the largest electricity users. However, these can also be our best targets for energy savings.
Computers and other electronic equipment have become a near necessity in campus buildings and dorms as well, contributing dramatically to our increases in energy consumption and costs.
Here’s where we come in: As we begin turning more lights on around campus, we can make a conscious effort to reduce electricity use in other areas.
Simply turning the lights out when you leave your room might seem too easy to make a significant difference, but getting into the habit now can save you hundreds of dollars each month when the electric bill is addressed to you.
Most of our electronic equipment can be set to go into a low-power sleep mode after a period of inactivity. I also make it a point to unplug anything I don’t have a constant use for.
This is where a power strip comes into play. When you leave your room for class, flick the switch off and all your chargers are no longer drawing energy when they aren’t in use.
Also, try turning your air to low or off when you leave the room. When the weather is nice, crack open your window and embrace the breeze.
Even if you practice conserving energy in a small way, you are doing good for our campus and our environment. Being conscious of these behaviors now can really help you to lead a life of energy conserving habits.
As I encourage you to remember to take action and conserve energy, I also encourage you to be a light. Conserve energy from that of a physical lamp, but strive to emit your light as if you were a lamp and God is your source of electricity.