Going Green One Step at a Time: PC Begins Energy Conservation Initiative

by The Cowl Editor on March 7, 2019


Recent conservation efforts by Providence College aim to help mitigate energy consumption on campus.

Kyle Burgess ’21

Assistant News Editor

In a letter addressed to the Providence College community last month, Father Brian J. Shanley, O.P., detailed several strides the College has made in keeping with its social responsibility to reduce energy consumption on campus.

In particular, he highlighted the College’s participation in energy conservation projects taken up with the National Grid over the past two years, totaling up to $1 million in spending for more efficient lighting. This investment will see a reduction in electricity usage from five to eight percent, saving the College hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Additionally, PC’s participation in a different program allows energy to be drawn from “remotely located” solar farms. This second program will eventually provide renewable power that will cover 80 percent of the College’s energy usage starting next year.

These developments were combined with the formation of a campus-wide Sustainability Committee as part of the College’s new Strategic Plan. The committee itself is the result of an ongoing effort made by students and faculty members to establish a body to deal with matters such as energy consumption at PC.

Previous efforts made by the College in curtailing its impact on the environment include water run-off management, recycling combined with the reduction in trash accumulation, and improvements on mechanicals and building systems as well as the natural environment on campus. 

PC has been acknowledged for its dedication to these fields with awards such as the Save the Bay Institutional Award for its advancements in run-off management, and its program has been modeled by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Other changes made to help reduce our impact on the environment include the replacing of PC’s energy boilers and air exchange traps on campus, as well as using cleaner primary and backup fuels.

Senior Vice President for Finance and Business and Chief Financial Officer John Sweeney has claimed that these efforts will lower the cost of school operations and lessen the impact that the College has on the local environment. 

“We all need to think about our own personal impact on the world around us,” Sweeney explained. He invited PC community members to ask questions about how we can improve this aspect of our lives, such as “How can I use less energy? Can I shop local? Is there a way I can reduce the impact of my packaging of online orders?”

To Sweeney, everyone is capable of doing their part regardless of how small it may seem in comparison to the College’s newest efforts.