Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 28, 1994

Students Find Answers to Money Drain in Exits
By Ken Keatley

     The student who organized a recent energy audit of the
Homewood campus says there is big money to be saved in little
exit signs.
     Those rectangular, green-tinted directional signs that
abound throughout campus buildings are each powered by two
15-watt light bulbs. Audit organizer Eric Lee says that's too
many watts.
     "If those light bulbs could be replaced by more energy
efficient light-emitting diodes, the signs would have the same
light intensity at only about 5 watts of power," said Lee, a
junior and president of Students for Environmental Action. "And
the university will save a lot of money."
     That recommendation is just one of many Lee and his nine
fellow student audit participants will make in a report to be
presented to the executive director of Facilities Management,
Robert Schuerholz, possibly as early as this week.
     The audit of four Homewood buildings--New Engineering,
Garland, Ames and Remsen--was conducted earlier this month under
the guidance of Peregrine "Pepper" White, a 1979 Hopkins
engineering graduate who runs an energy consulting firm in
     After a morning orientation by White, the students split
into groups and surveyed each of the buildings, compiling
inventory data on lighting and office equipment. They then used
the field data to calculate the number of kilowatt hours used
each year, how much energy could be saved and the investment
payback period if more efficient energy sources were implemented.
     Rick Eschenbach, the newly hired energy manager for
facilities management, participated in the audit and conducted
afternoon tours of the Homewood power plant.
     "The timing for this is great, since I hope to soon
implement a conservation program," Eschenbach said. "It's great
to see students want to be involved or concerned. Maybe this will
lead to better awareness [of energy conservation] on campus."
     White said there "certainly are opportunities for
improvement" in the Homewood buildings, but praised the recently
renovated Remsen building for having state-of-the-art light
fixtures and low wattage lamps. Most of the other buildings have
standard fixtures and high wattage lamps.
     "On that basis alone, there is great potential for savings,"
added White.
     Lee hopes the exit sign idea and other audit
recommendations, as well as the inventory data collected, will
serve as a blueprint for Eschenbach and others to use in updating
inefficient buildings.
     He said Syracuse University recently converted each of its
3,500 signs to light-emitting diodes. An article in the fall
issue of the Syracuse alumni magazine states that the conversion
should save Syracuse about $230,000 annually.  
     "I think our report will show that the potential savings are
enough for the university to justify hiring a consulting firm for
a complete audit, and to invest the money to implement the
changes," Lee said. 

Go back to Previous Page

Go to Gazette Homepage