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Vol. LIX, No. 21
October 19, 2007

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Learn to Conserve Energy, Resources

NIH uses the most electricity of any federal site in the metro D.C. area. Our combined water, gas and electricity bills are projected to total $100 million for FY 2007.

So join others at NIH and jump on the bandwagon to conserve resources. Turn off your monitor when it won't be used for 30 minutes or more. You can set your computer to turn itself off during idle periods. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. When washing labware or foodware, soak, don't let the water run unnecessarily.

In FY 2006, we consumed 704 million gallons of water. One million gallons of water would fill a swimming pool 267 feet long by 50 feet wide to a depth of 10 feet.

We burned 13 million therms of natural gas; 1 therm equals 100,000 BTU, or the heat content of 100 cubic feet of gas. An average home in the Midwest uses about 825 therms from October to March.

We used 465 million kWh of electricity. One 100-watt lightbulb on for an hour is 0.1 kWh. Running a 3,500-watt air conditioner for an hour is 3.5 kWh. An average 17-inch CRT monitor uses 80 watts per hour while a 17-inch LCD monitor uses 35 watts per hour. Even when turned off, monitors and many other appliances still use up to 10 watts per hour. The average fume hood uses 3 times the energy of a house in a year. Keeping the sash closed when you're not using the hood is always safest for you and can reduce energy use by 30-60 percent.

NIH, like other research institutions, embarked on a program to identify areas where water and energy use can be made more efficient. For existing facilities, the NIH energy conservation program is as aggressive and comprehensive as any in government. It includes energy auditing and study to determine energy and water conservation opportunities, and subsequent contracting, construction and retrofit activities to install cost-effective energy, water and money-saving measures.

Since 2001, NIH has completed evaluation and subsequent construction of nearly 15 separate energy and water conservation projects, with several more currently in progress (Bldgs. 37 and 49, Research Triangle Park, Rocky Mountain Laboratories). These efforts have been estimated to result in savings of over 24 million kWh, 4,000 kW, 100 million gallons of water, 216 million BTUs of energy and an annual savings of nearly $5 million.

Listed below are links to a few of our fellow research institutions' ambitious plans to preserve our planet for future generations, as well as conserve research dollars:

Harvard University's Green Campus Initiative: www.greencampus.harvard. edu/

UCSF Environmental Sustainability Committee:

Tufts University Climate Initiative:

Sustainable Stanford:

The Sustainability Council at the University of Chicago:

A Greener Grounds at the University of Virginia:

Join the NIH GreenServ list (currently 175 members) and share your ideas with others in the NIH community. Sign up at l.html.- NIH Record Icon

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