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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to reduce energy usage over winter holiday break

New Mexico State University will set back the heating and cooling systems in its campus buildings over the winter holiday break.

The setbacks will begin Thursday, Dec. 21. The campus will be closed from Friday, Dec. 22, through Monday, Jan. 1, 2007.

"We're out a little more than a week and it makes a big difference in our overall electric and gas bill in the winter," said Rich MacRorie, associate vice president of facilities.

Faculty and staff who come in to work over the holiday break need to be aware of the energy setbacks, "so if they have to come in or choose to come in, they should wear sweaters because it may be a little cool in their buildings," MacRorie said.

He asks workers to turn off computers and lights in their offices and buildings before they leave for the holiday break. Also, houseplants should be set away from windows so they're protected from the cold, MacRorie said, adding that "if they're real sensitive to the cold, you might want to take them home."

Weather conditions will be monitored and some of MacRorie's staff will be on call over the holidays so they can respond if a storm moves into the area or the weather drastically changes.

"If it looks like the temperature is going to get very, very cold, we will override the setbacks so we don't get potential freezing temperatures in the buildings or mechanical areas," he said. "You can wipe out an awful lot of savings with one frozen coil or frozen pipe that dumps a lot of water into the building."

Most street lights, mall lights and parking lot lights will continue to provide security over the break, MacRorie said.

"Our security concerns drive our exterior lighting," MacRorie said. "It's not so much an aesthetic issue as it is a security issue. Regardless of how many people are on campus or whether or not it's a holiday break, we want people to feel safe on campus."

Bob Nosbisch
Dec. 19, 2006