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Clarkson students aim to trim energy bills

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POTSDAM - Drafty conditions in off-campus apartments can drive up energy bills and chill Clarkson University students’ winters.

A group of Clarkson students are hosting a forum to discuss making those apartments more comfortable, reducing energy consumption and helping the environment.

The “Saving Energy Makes Cent$: Students and Property Owners Reducing Energy Use” forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Student Center Multi-purpose Rooms will offer tips on how students and landlords can work together to make small improvements in their apartments, like installing plastic window seals and high efficiency light bulbs. The goal of the forum is to develop a strategy for implementing those improvements at rental properties across Potsdam.

“We really wanted to do something that would affect the behavior of the students where it will have a lasting impression on them after they leave Clarkson,” says Joseph Robbins ’15, one of the forum co-organizers.

Students, landlords, and Potsdam community members are all invited to attend. A panel consisting of energy auditor Gerald Loch, School of Business Professor and landlord Marc Compeau, student renter Matt Desmarais, and Political Science Professor Stephen Bird will discuss obstacles to energy efficiency in student housing and answer questions from the attendees.

Gregory Pedric ’76, a project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is the keynote speaker.

Forum discussion will hopefully lead to a strategy for community-wide implementation of free energy audits in rental properties, as nearly 1,000 of Potsdam’s homes are more than 70 years old and could benefit from upgrades, Robbins says.

Clarkson is a residential campus, although a number of students, including older and married students, or those living in Greek housing, reside off campus.

Robbins and Emma Dixon ’15 are ambassadors for “Focus the Nation,” a national not-for-profit group that aims to empower college students nationwide to lead more energy efficient lives. Each student has received several months of training from Focus the Nation in preparation for Monday night’s “Forums-To-Action” program.

The two are also part of Clarkson’s Synergy Club, which completes projects to make the Clarkson community more environmentally friendly. Simultaneously tackling off-campus student housing and energy efficiency has been rewarding, Dixon said.

“There are a lot of people that don’t know the small things you can do to make your energy bill smaller,” Dixon said. “Small improvements can make the house better in general.”

Read more about the event at http://focusthenation.org/events/52-saving-energy-makes-cent-students-and-property-owners-reducing-energy-use .

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