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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

EVS 300


Environmental Science and Policy


Energy use features prominently in the search for solutions to economic and environmental problems as a major contributor to both climate change and cost of living. Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, has embraced this search. The school committed itself to neutralizing its greenhouse gas emissions in 2007. Furthermore the school’s recent budget plan includes a goal of funding conservation projects as well as a goal to reduce campus space by closing administrative buildings or student residences. The purpose of this study is to determine how much energy students use within their dorms, to determine which appliances are the biggest consumers on campus, and to identify patterns in dorm energy use so as to make energy savings recommendations to the school administrators. We sent a survey to all students living within Baldwin, Chase, Cutter, Duckett, Hopkins, Hubbard, Morris, Morrow, Talbot, and Wilson houses and analyzed data from the responses using Minitab 15. We found that student energy consumption varies with dorm size and dorm location and that six appliances are responsible for approximately 70% of student energy use. Our results should be considered when the administration makes the decision as to which campus buildings to close, as closing certain houses will result in more energy savings than others. Our results can also help the administration in prioritizing current and future conservation projects.


© 2009; Britni Steingard