Offices & Services > Office of Sustainability



Deborah Steinberg

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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A handicap parking space on Cherry Street outside of George Davis Hall.

Knox College is taking the first steps to reducing its carbon impact, which involves evaluating the college's greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions and making changes to reduce energy-heavy activities. The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014 found that the three largest sectors for emissions were from Electricity (30%), Transportation (26%), and Industry (21%). The EPA estimates that around 40% of the total energy consumed in the United States, is used to generate electricity, making electricity use an important part of Knox's energy footprint.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

One way to reduce the impact of electricity generation is the use of renewable energy. This refers to electricity that was generated using fuel sources that restore themselves over short periods of time and do not diminish. This includes sun, wind, moving water, organic plant and waste material (biomass), and the earth's heat (geothermal). Producers of electricity using renewable energy can issue RECs, which allow the owner of the REC to claim the environmental and social benefits of this energy source.

Knox has shown its commitment to renewable energy and participates in the REC market. Currently Knox can attribute 125% of its electricity use to wind power generated in the Midwest.

Based on this commitment, Knox is a part of EPA's Green Power Partnership. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

LEED Buildings

The renovation of Alumni Hall, completed in 2014, was awarded Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council, under its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. Though LEED focuses on design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings, there is an emphasis on the energy category. Alumni Hall earned 26 out of a possible 35 credits in the Energy & Atmosphere section of the rating system. This means that almost half of the credits needed to attain the Gold level can be attributed to energy-efficient choices.

LEED certification is also being pursued for the new Dick and Joan Whitcomb Art Center, with an anticipated completion in fall of 2016. Again, energy-efficiency is an emphasis, but in addition the surrounding grounds will reduce energy demands through green stormwater management with the installation of a meadow of prairie grasses and a rain garden that uses runoff, diverting it before entering the storm drains, to nourish native flowers and shrubs.

What Can I Do?

Five simple things you can do to reduce the energy you use on a daily basis:

  1. Turn off your computer monitor. If you are stepping away from the computer for more than 20 minutes, put it to sleep or shut off the monitor. If you will be gone for over two hours, turn off both the CPU and monitor.
  2. Choose the right bulb. LED bulbs use up to 85 percent less energy to deliver the same amount of light as incandescents. They also last about 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs contain no mercury, so don't pose the additional hazards of CFL bulbs.
  3. Eliminate vampire power: unplug idle electronics. Nearly one-quarter of home energy use is consumed by "vampires"-devices and appliances that suck up electricity even when switched off. Unplug electronic devices like televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers, which use standby power, even when off. Or use a power strip to turn all devices off at once. Flipping the switch on your power strip has the same effect as unplugging each socket from the wall, preventing phantom energy loss.
  4. Hang your clothes to dry. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) the clothes dryer is one of the largest energy users in the home, often consuming as much as a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. A simple solution is to air-dry your clothes. Many of the laundry rooms on campus have drying racks or string a line in your room.
  5. Turn off the lights. Simply remembering to turn off the lights when you are leaving a room!

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Printed on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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