The Daily Illini

An enlightening approach to combat budget cuts

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Our University is a large force in the landscape of colleges across the nation. Because of our large reaching and innovative technology, we have established ourselves as a campus trailblazer in the field of energy-saving and eco-friendly policies.

Through various points this year, be it the Greeks Go Green initiative or the revolutionary Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, the University has been finding inventive ways to conserve energy and help the planet.

It cannot be denied that our campus still has progress to make, and one of those areas of progress comes with an added benefit, as well. Next year, the University will be saving around $70,000 by switching to more energy-efficient lighting fixtures in the Activities and Recreation Center. While similar fixtures were installed in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 2010, as well as other campus buildings, we need to be making a push to install similar fixtures, or light systems with the same energy-saving effect, in all campus buildings.

This is a great step for the University, not only because it will continue to save energy, but because it will alleviate the financial stress caused by impending budget cuts.

A frequent misconception about eco-friendly initiatives is they will cost more money to implement and continue running than other potentially more outdated technologies. However, it is new equipment, such as the energy-saving light fixtures, that has the potential to reinvigorate the images and ideals associated with environmentally-focused programs on all campuses across the nation.

If something as simple as changing light bulbs has the ability to open up or restructure the University’s budget while simultaneously decreasing the amount of energy used by the University, that should be a change we push for in all campus buildings.

To stay in the tune of saving money by saving energy, we can be making more efforts to ensure lights in campus buildings are turned off throughout the night. While some lights should be kept on for security purposes, far too often it is apparent that lights are left on throughout the night, not only wasting energy but driving up energy spending.

If turning off lights in campus buildings was paired with the new light technologies our campus is starting to adopt, the University would surely save money that could be absorbed into areas of our budget that are suffering.

There are so many potential benefits the University and environment would reap following these changes, and these are benefits we shouldn’t be waiting years to start getting. Changing the light systems in the ARC is a great step, but hopefully the University will make haste getting this technology into other campus buildings.

When we see the convergence of the budget and environment — two of the greatest issues our campus and world face today — being combated in one comprehensive plan, it should not only be praised, but should be something other campuses try to implement. We should always be working toward the title of a cutting-edge, eco-friendly campus.

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