By Lauren Bishop, WCU Energy Manager, Facilities Management

Last year, Western Carolina University selected ConEdison Solutions, Inc. to conduct a comprehensive energy audit on campus. The scope of the audit project includes improvements that will enhance lighting efficiency, increase the use of solar energy, modify heating and air-conditioning systems and controls, expand water conservation and provide power shut-down software for campus computers. Also known as a performance contract, the $5.25M project will pay for itself over the span of 12 to 15 years from the energy savings on WCU’s energy bill.


One of the best energy conservation measures to be implemented is Faronics Power Save, a computer power-down software. An automated program that will eventually be installed on every computer workstation on campus, Power Save enables flexible schedules and power usage options that will result in more time off for machines without disrupting work. The savings is estimated to pay for itself in 1.7 years. Lauren Bishop, WCU’s energy manager, has been working closely with the staff in IT to make this measure possible.

Below is a summary of the Power Save audit report for 950 WCU workstations from February 15 to March 3, 2010:


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that potential energy saved by powering down 950 workstations is equivalent to:

  • Removing 8.0 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere.
  • Planting 1.8 acres of forest.
  • Conserving 18.5 barrels of oil.
  • Taking 1.5 cars off the road.

Buildings included in the audit project are Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center, Hunter Library, Stillwell Science Building, Hoey Auditorium, McKee Building and Coulter Building.

An energy dashboard kiosk may be a future addition to Hunter Library. If installed, it will show how much energy is being consumed on campus and how much is being produced by WCU’s photovoltaic solar panels.


Signage bearing WCU’s carbon paw print logo (pictured at right) will mark places on campus where WCU has made a green energy modification. Information about the modification will accompany the logo.

For more information about energy conservation at WCU, contact Energy Manager Lauren Bishop at or visit the energy management Web site.