The Alliance to Save Energy’s PowerSave Green Campus Program supports universities across California to save money, reduce energy and water usage, while training students for green careers. Green Campus seeks to bridge the divide between students and institutional energy costs, employing nearly 100 student interns in the process. Through their PowerSave Green Campus internship, students learn and practice skills that offer pathways into green careers, realizing measurable energy savings, infusing energy and energy efficiency concepts into academic curricula, and promoting energy efficiency awareness. PowerSave Green Campus interns work closely with faculty, staff administrators, and student groups to engage them in energy efficiency projects.
The PowerSave Green Campus Program currently serves 16 California schools, and SEI staff members directly supervise PowerSave Green Campus student intern teams at Humboldt State University, Cal State Chico, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco. In this role, SEI staff connect regularly with each campus team as they develop energy and water saving projects and related education and awareness efforts, partnering with campus staff, students and faculty to successfully plan and launch these initiatives.
In addition to project oversight, SEI staff members help to develop all phases of the Program at a school, including coordinating program planning with university administrators and staff, recruiting, hiring and training the student interns, supporting interns in project scoping and implementation, organizing statewide convergences designed to share best practices, and linking interns with PowerSave Green Campus alumni and with other career opportunities.
To date, PowerSave Green Campus team projects have focused on a mix of educational efforts and technology adoption pilots. Student teams typically engage in technology and education efforts focused on cutting edge opportunities in Dining, Housing and Facilities operations. SEI program staff help to ensure that student-led efforts are in concert with campus stakeholders, training and overseeing student interns as they conduct a range of activities that range from energy efficiency audits for department offices and dining halls, to energy-efficient light bulb giveaways, to sponsoring dorm energy reduction competitions. PowerSave Green Campus interns seeks to bridge the link the to academics and professional coursework, establishing for-credit internships and project-based courses, support campus green building (LEED) projects, and sponsoring expert speaker panels on timely energy, water and sustainability topics.
Program Outcomes and Impacts
- Realize measurable energy and water savings
- Promote a campus culture of conservation through education and outreach
- Infuse sustainable energy concepts into academics
- Build pathways to green careers
At Cal State Chico, the 2007-08 PowerSave Green Campus student team deployed a network-based power management project on 4,279 computers, which has led to an annual estimated energy cost savings of $37,640 for the university. Interns at UC Santa Cruz distributed 3,225 CFLs to replace incandescent bulbs, leading to an annual energy cost savings of $25,553. At Humboldt State University, interns initiated network based power management and building commissioning projects estimated to save the university $59,454 a year. In 2010, student interns at UC San Francisco supported Housing to conduct a Building Science approach to inventory the breadth of campus-owned residential structures, that will realize energy savings of over 800,000 kWh annually once all retrofits have been completed, substantially contributing towards meeting the energy target within UC San Francisco’s Sustainability Action Plan.