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Editorial

Energy emergency: students unaware, not able to help

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February 9, 2007

The temperatures reached a seasonal low of minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday. Students and faculty alike bundled up from head to toe only allowing a space to see out of to be unshielded from the blistering wind.

Now that the temperatures outside have officially become unbearable, the amount of energy being used inside has increased a significant amount.

Banks of lights were turned off in academic buildings and rumblings were heard on campus about an “energy emergency,” but besides faculty and Falcon Daily readers, people were left unaware of the reasons they were walking in darkness or advised to turn off their TVs when not watching them directly.

On Feb. 6, the River Falls Municipal Utility (RFMU) department was notified by Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI) that an “emergency level three generator notice” was in effect.
According to WPPI’s Web site, a level three means that any available generators should be used and any area that has the ability to conserve power should do so.

UW-River Falls constitutes as one of WPPI’s larger customers and therefore was notified immediately to do what they could to conserve energy on campus.

This begs the question then, why weren’t students notified of this call to action through an e-mail or by professors at the start of class? This way, we also could have conserved energy and understood why we were walking in darkness in certain areas of the new University Center.

With only the faculty, staff and Falcon Daily readers being informed of the energy alert, the University alone saved 3 percent of the normal amount of energy used, according to Chancellor Don Betz.

Just imagine how much could have been saved if students turned off the Christmas lights adorning dorm rooms, or shut off computers while at class.

High emergency generator levels are more common in the summertime when people have air conditioning cranked on high and fans are plugged into every outlet in the house, Jan Lorenz of RFMU said.

The recent cold spell, storms in the South and the surge of energy that occurs every Monday morning when businesses reopen helped cause the higher emergency level.

UWRF is no longer in a level three warning; actually we are back down to level zero, but students, faculty and staff are advised to save energy where possible.

So, since no one else let us know the facts, here they are, now we all can do our part in conserving energy.