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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU forced to expand energy setbacks

In November 2005, Rich MacRorie, executive director of facilities operations at New Mexico State University, warned that the university's projected utility cost shortfall would be $1.5 million.


hen, the figure has been revised to $1.2 million. Now, three months later and on the heels of a legislative session that did not fund inflationary increases, NMSU is taking steps to help meet the shortfall head-on.

One of the steps being taken is to "set back" or shut off energy systems in buildings sooner or for longer periods of time at night, on weekends and in more buildings than before.

Also, building temperatures are being changed so they can drift over a wider range, MacRorie said. This is more cost-effective than maintaining set temperatures because it takes more energy to maintain closed temperatures than to allow the temperatures to fluctuate.

"We've done what we can to reduce use without impacting operations in our facilities and it's just not enough anymore," MacRorie said. "We're at a point where people are going to feel further reductions. Many buildings are not going to be as comfortable as they once were, especially at night or on weekends. However, we have little choice but to take these steps. This is a serious problem and every little bit of energy conservation, including turning off equipment and lights when you leave work, really does add up. Also, I'd encourage everybody to be alert to energy waste. For instance, if you're walking by an empty room and see the lights on, just take a couple of seconds to turn them off. It may not seem like much, but if everyone got involved a little, it can make quite a difference."

Meanwhile, the university's Energy Task Force and top administrators are discussing a measures that may have to be taken to pay the energy bill. Once decisions have been made as to which option or options are the best, that information will be relayed to the public.

Bob Nosbisch
Feb. 24, 2006