Students warm up to new A/C

By Lauren Piercey

“We pay for it and we should be able to control it.”

That is the common attitude in response to the changing of the apartment complex thermostats. The modification now restricts students from controlling their thermostat temperature. This is actually
smart, benefiting students more than they think because it could help not just their pockets, but their well being.

Students came back to school this fall expecting the same routine and control, but were taken off guard.

Junior Cody Harvey’s immediate response was cost.

“It is ridiculous for how much we pay,” he said.

Tuition alone is expensive, but almost a third goes to housing. With most dorms and apartments on campus ranging from $2,000 to $2,905 a semester, it seems that they should be given a comfortable living without their air restricted.

According to the 2009-10 cost sheet, a two-person apartment in Independence Village costs each student $2,905 a semester or $5,810 a year.

Director of Risk Management Larry Pointer broke down how every year the university spends around $200,000 on heating and $1.4 to $1.6 million on electricity.

“That is 24-26 million kilowatts a year, whereas most residences use less than a thousand a month,” he said.

Senior Vice President for Campus Planning and Support Services Edd Martin believes the alteration has advantages. The change seems like a blow to students, but it is really a benefit. With conservation comes savings and with that came one of the lowest increases in tuition the university has recently seen.

“We want to try and stop the spiraling influence on tuition at UMHB,” Martin said.

The apartment thermostats stay at a constant 75 degrees. This adjustment was done in mpart to achieve a sort of unity among the electricity bills in the apartments.

“Before, one (utility bill) could be $75 and another could be $250 to $300,” Martin said.

The overall goal is the conservation of energy and a reduced carbon footprint.

“We hope to stabilize energy consumption across campus … projecting an eight percent savings off utility bills,” Martin said.

Students might try to rebel with fans and alternative methods of cooling, but that might hurt more than help. Martin understands this is an issue.

“Where we see a problem and try to fix it, someone will find a way around it,” he said.

Martin wants students to know that comments on campus issues such as this are welcomed and encouraged.

“Instead of getting around the issue, bring us good suggestions … help us keep it under control,” he said. It might seem that the change is unfair. Dorms on campus have no thermostat, but are given fan control in
choices of either off, low, medium and high. Unlike a normal air conditioning system, the units in the dorms stay on all the time. Once a certain temperature is reached, it does not cut off. This issue is due to the chill water units in some of the dorms, which in reality are more cost effective, but should see attention in the future.

“Over a period of time, we will most likely move on to dorms,” Martin said.

The going green movement might seem frivolous to some, but it has valuable paybacks.

Martin said, “Benefits are not only substantial for ourselves, but for our environment.”

Conservation might seem worthless now, but in the future, students could reap the rewards.

Author: The Bells Staff

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