Spartan Treasure Hunt: Coming soon to a building near you
Published: June 1, 2015
Michigan State University's Energy Transition Plan was adopted in 2012 to help MSU reliably meet its future energy needs while keeping a close eye on costs and environmental impacts. In order to meet the goals of the plan, the university needs to closely examine its energy demand and identify opportunities for increased efficiencies. The Spartan Treasure Hunt is a way for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities to partner with building occupants to analyze MSU buildings and find opportunities for energy savings and system improvements.
Treasure hunt participants, including building occupants and facilities experts, perform a comprehensive audit of a building and produce a list of resource-saving opportunities. After the audit, dedicated experts decide which building upgrades will provide the best return on investment through the commissioning process.
"The Spartan Treasure Hunt was a great way to bring users of the building together, introduce them to the many people who keep things working all year long and gave us access to parts of the building many of us had never seen before," said Angela Michael, assistant director of MSU's Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, who participated in a treasure hunt at IM Sports Circle.
Once the findings are validated, recommendations for system improvements and promising projects are shared with decision-makers. The process allows facility experts to partner with building occupants to advocate for funds to improve building operations.
The Spartan Treasure Hunt has been immensely successful – so far, 13 buildings have been inspected and have shed light on over 2,000 opportunities for improvement. In addition to building-specific issues, the treasure hunt often identifies occupant best practices that lead to energy savings, waste reduction and water conservation.
"The way we work in a building can have a significant impact on energy use," said Sustainability Project Coordinator Sean Barton. "The Spartan Treasure Hunt promotes the efficient use of energy by working with campus partners to develop best practices that can reduce building energy demand."
If your building is currently in need of energy-saving updates, feel free to contact Infrastructure Planning and Facilities.
Keep a look out for these simple energy fixes within your building:
- Use smart power strips to minimize energy use
- Shut off lights, computers and other electronics when leaving your area
- Keep your thermostat at the correct set points – 76 degrees in summer, 70 degrees in winter
- Place "turn it off" stickers on light switches (contact MSU Sustainability for free stickers)
- Avoid use of personal refrigerators, consolidate with your coworkers/colleagues
- Don't use screen savers, put your computer into sleep mode
- Control your comfort sustainably, adhere to space heater policies
- Keep computer equipment away from the thermostat, the equipment can produce heat and cause the thermostat to produce false readings
- Don't block air flow with furniture, think about space setup
- Set printers to go into standby mode to use less energy
- Report windows and doors that don't close to Infrastructure Planning and Facilities