University of Arizona dorms lauded for energy efficiency

For the most part, college students are known for being willing to embrace tenets of a green lifestyle in many of their actions. At the University of Arizona, the effort to become a leader among peers took two years, but school stakeholders were recently awarded for embracing energy efficiency with Energy Star distinctions for two of their dormitories.

As part of a class project, students performed an energy audit on three dorms – La Aldea, Maricopa Residence Hall and Arizona-Sonora – as they focused on lighting, heating and insulation and air quality of the three buildings. While their analysis focused primary on energy use, students also studied the behaviors of residents as they related to overall green habits.

"I think the foundation of sustainable living is about better communities," school official Amanda Brobbel told the university's newspaper, The Daily Wildcat. "The idea is if you're living sustainably, you're living with an eye to not only the current people who occupy this planet, but the future people who will occupy the planet."

The Energy Star distinction is given to properties that meet certain requirements set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star also features a program for its top performers, who must meet stringent requirements for energy efficiency. Just this week, the EPA announced that members of the Energy Star Leaders program have improved their energy efficiency by about 20 percent across-the-board, leading to total savings of $150 million since the program's inception.

Residents who want energy-efficient homes, along with business owners who have sought out commercial inspections to better understand energy efficiency, should continue to seek out green improvements to their properties. Whether they strive to meet the Energy Star standard or simply integrate CFL bulbs into their properties, green improvements can help curb energy waste substantially.