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 Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Infrared Technology Aids Campus Conservation
By Allison Sylvest

You may have noticed a helicopter flying low over the campus on the evening of Feb. 27. Using infrared technology, a camera mounted on the side of the helicopter took images of all campus building structures, assessing energy efficiency and locating moisture leaks in the rooftops.

"The infrared camera scans walls and rooftops to identify areas that are losing energy," said Moe Tabrizi, campus energy conservation officer. "It's a money-saving measure because it can detect areas that are not visible to the naked eye, and we can fix trouble spots before they develop into bigger problems."

The helicopter flew about 200 feet overhead the entire campus, including East Campus, the residence halls and Williams Village. The four hours of footage is superimposed on campus building drawings to pinpoint areas that need attention. The camera identified approximately 50 buildings with potential roof problems.

The imaging is part of a larger environmental stewardship plan that includes education on energy and water conservation and waste reduction. A campus pledge campaign in 2004 resulted in 13,000 faculty, staff and student signatures pledging to reduce campus energy consumption by 10 percent. The Buff Energy Star program also was launched that year to recognize and reward building proctors who campaigned to reduce electrical use in their buildings by five percent per square foot.

As a result of several water conservation projects such as processed chilled water recycling in the physics labs, a reduction in potable water usage from 412 million gallons to 262 million gallons per year was achieved. A notable reduction in steam and electrical energy usage also was reached through similar conservation measures.

According to Tabrizi, the use of infrared technology is another proactive measure. "We're looking to up the ante, bring it to the next level," he said. "Campus leadership and Facilities Management are very supportive."

For more information, visit the Resource Conservation web site. The site offers data on individual buildings' energy consumption, tips for saving energy and the cost of campus energy usage in dollars and environmental impact. An opportunity to report energy waste and to offer tips also is available on the web site or by calling the hotline at (303) 735-6202 or emailing

"I get great ideas from members of the campus community," said Tabrizi.

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