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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Touchscreens part of LEED program

<ll, many returning students were surprised to find a touchscreen providing information on Carleton’s energy use installed in Upper Sayles. An additional two more touchscreens had been built into the new Cassat and Memorial Halls.

Despite the fact that their installment to the campus came as a surprise to many, they have been in the works for a while. According to Director of Facilities Steven Spehn, the college had been planning for a year to install one in Sayles, and touchscreens were included in the blueprints for the new dorms from the start.

In addition to providing information on Carleton’s energy use and carbon footprint, building the touchscreens counts towards Carleton’s sustainability as measured by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. As part of this program credits are awarded to organizations by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council based on how environmentally friendly the organization’s buildings are —and communicating that the buildings are sustainable earns credits.

The college chose touchscreens because it wanted “something interactive” and visible, allowing curious people to access information on the college’s energy use with little effort. Although the screens do use energy, Spehn says that their energy use is minimal, “like a TV screen”.

The touchscreens in Cassat and Memorial are also designed to encourage environmental competition among students by showing the energy use of each floor or apartment, allowing the students to compare their energy use to their peers and voluntarily lower their energy consumption.

According to Spehn, the college hopes to use these LEED credits as an independent and objective measure of how well the college is pursuing its environmental sustainability goals.

“Campus has adopted silver LEED [33-38 credits] as its standard,” he said, and is “striving to achieve gold [39 credits].” Although a platinum standard exists, Spehn does not think the college would be able to achieve it in the foreseeable future.

In addition to addomg touchscreens, the college has earned credits by recycling construction waste, using local building materials and building energy-saving features into new and old buildings.

It is possible that new touchscreens will be added to other buildings around campus in the future, depending on the response they get from the student body.

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