Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Environmental Science and Policy

First Advisor

Don Rodbell




electricity, lighting, beuth, house, hall


Union College, located in Schenectady, New York, is a liberal arts college on a campus of 120 acres and home to over 2,000 students. Within the past few years, Union College has taken many steps to become a more sustainable campus. The purpose of this research was to analyze the electricity usage of Union College and to identify electricity usage trends in order to determine how electricity could be saved. The buildings included in this research were divided into categories based on their function: recreation, residential, academic, and administration. Utility bill analysis showed that from July 2007 to June 2008, the Union College campus used 17,247,239 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Residential buildings accounted for 2,937,240 kWh (17%) of this total. A targeted energy audit was performed on two dormitories, Richmond Hall and Beuth House, to evaluate and compare electricity use of pre-installed lighting systems and therm usage to propose energy conservation projects to decrease the cost of utility bills. Richmond Hall was built approximately 50 years ago and Beuth House was remodeled in 2004. Eight lighting fixtures within Beuth House and Richmond Hall were monitored to determine the percentage of electricity that pre-installed lighting used in these buildings. It was determined that pre-installed lighting used 12% and 44% of the electricity in Richmond Hall and Beuth House, respectively. After surveying the types of lighting, few lighting upgrades can decrease the energy usage of pre-installed lighting systems in these two dormitories. After accounting for seasonal temperatures, square footage, and student population, fewer therms are used during the heating season in Richmond Hall than in Beuth House. These results show that renovations of Beuth House did not improve the building’s envelope and despite renovations of Beuth House in 2004, the building envelope essentially has the same efficiency as Richmond Hall. Until new and better lighting technology is available, educating students on electricity usage within their dormitories will be an important part of the sustainability effort to conserve energy.