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Videos promote Southeast's energy conservation program

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 21, 2003 - Students in a Southeast Missouri State University technical graphics class have taken on a project to assist the University with energy conservation efforts. Six students from the School of Polytechnic Studies' advanced graphics projects course will develop and produce videos that can be used by the University to encourage and promote awareness of the energy conservation program that is currently under way.

The students will be working in conjunction with Southeast Facilities Management and Johnson Controls, Inc., the company awarded the University's 10-year energy performance contract, to produce the videos.

"Two videos will be completed," said Dr. David Baird, associate professor of industrial and engineering technology. "One video will be geared toward a student's perspective and the other toward a faculty perspective. Both videos are intended to change the attitudes and actions of these consumers about what they can do to conserve resources," he said.

We decided to produce the videos when Johnson Controls introduced us to a similar video produced by students at another university," said Tom Cox, energy manager of Southeast's Facilities Management. "We are dedicated to energy conservation, and the idea of recruiting our students, faculty and staff in the project seemed to fit our efforts perfectly. Like recycling, energy conservation is a team effort and, thus, must have buy-in from the total University community."

Involving students in the process seemed logical to Cox.

"The students are the reason we are here, and they are here to achieve educational life goals. It makes sense to enlist the aid of students taking a class geared toward producing these types of videos," he said.

"The videos will address simple lifestyle changes, like turning off your lights or entertainment center when they're not in use, closing your refrigerator door, and readjusting your thermostat.

"We hope to promote awareness among the students, faculty and staff that energy management isn't just a large $13 million energy conservation project, but also individual and team efforts to conserve," Cox said. "We hope to show that one person's effort to conserve can impact the total University budget and reduce the pollutants created by making energy."

Students working on the project will have the opportunity to use skills they have learned and receive real-world experience and knowledge in the process.

"The students will gain practice working with real clients in a real environment," Baird said. "The first step they take, just like in industry, is meeting with the client, Johnson Controls, to get direction for the project. They develop a storyboard showcasing their ideas and present it to the client. After incorporating the client's ideas into their storyboard, they shoot their raw footage and produce a rough cut in our lab to present to the client. Revisions, additional footage and the final effects are added to the video before the finished product is presented to the client for their final approval," he said. "If the video will be used in a streaming video format on the Web, an edited version must be made and approved," Baird added.

The students involved in the project are excited not only about the experience they will gain, but also about assisting the University with its energy conservation efforts and promoting awareness of the project on campus.

"Hopefully by doing this video, we will encourage incoming freshman and current students to stop and think about how important energy conservation is," said Jeannie Devault, a senior technical graphics major from Cape Girardeau, and part of the team producing the student video.

Bill Wahl, a senior technical graphics major from St. Louis, is on the team producing the faculty video.

"Practicing energy conservation is not only the students' responsibility, but the faculty's responsibility as well, including informing their students about conserving energy," he said.

The students are proposing video scripts that will appeal to their audiences through a creative approach to hard-hitting cost comparisons and statistics. They expect the information they plan to present in their videos to speak for itself.

"It's one thing to say you are wasting energy, but when you actually see the numbers, it puts it all in perspective," Duvault said.

The students also are concerned with helping their fellow students establish energy-responsible habits that will serve them and their pocketbooks long into the future.

"While you're living in a dorm, you don't really think or care about saving energy," Wahl said. "Then when you go out on your own and get a job and follow the same practices, it starts costing you money. I'm just starting to learn what it costs you," he added.

"Hopefully we'll pick up some good habits now so that when we're on our own, we'll already have them established," said Duvault.

Cox echoes the students' expectations.

"Hopefully we will not only help the University, but the students will leave this institution with good energy habits that will last them a lifetime," he said.

The University's energy conservation plan covers lighting system updates, thermostat controls, decreasing water consumption through updates in toilets and faucets and the upgrading of HVAC controls and installation of energy efficient electric motors in larger buildings. The monetary savings received from these measures will be put back into the energy conservation program to refurbish and increase the efficiency of other energy systems on campus.

The total cost of the performance contract to install these updates will be $13.4 million. The University's contracted savings at the end of the performance contract should be nearly $19 million.

"The state allows the University 10 years to pay for Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) installation costs," Cox said. "Any extra savings during that period has a positive impact on the total University budget. After the 10 years, we will garner all the savings for a larger budgetary impact."

The students are scheduled to complete the project before the University's spring break. Residence Life will show the videos to all Southeast students at the beginning of the fall 2003 semester. Facilities Management also plans to have the videos available on their Web site, and is investigating other methods of distribution as well.


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