ACROSS THE COMMONS > April 2011 issue home page

Across the Commons


Faculty, staff and students save UA money

Have you submitted a money-saving idea to the anonymous comment box inside ZipLine? If so, thank you — your ideas are helping the University run more efficiently.

A few examples:

Topic: Organizational efficiency

Several people over the years have suggested via the comment box that the University would benefit by scheduling classes more throughout the day and week. Doing so, they noted, would reduce pressure on parking and enable us to serve more adult students in the evenings.

The response: Testing of new space-allocation software is under way, providing the University with the means to make more efficient use of classroom, laboratory and public spaces. The software will standardize class start times and meeting patterns, giving students more ability to optimally schedule classes. Further, the software will make it easier to space out classes to ease parking demand and to attract more evening students.

"By making better use of our space," says Provost Mike Sherman, "we'll be able to absorb further increases in enrollment with minimal capital investments, and we'll be able to encourage more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, which is one of the goals of Vision 2020.

"We will be a model in the state for using space efficiently and effectively," he added. 

As a component of the testing process, we made a number of adjustments to the fall 2011 schedule that increased the general classroom space utilization rate from 68.8 percent to 73.3 percent. Further increases are anticipated once the software is in full use, which is expected to occur with the spring 2012 schedule.

Topic: Energy

People took note of the interior security lights at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field and other campus buildings and asked whether an opportunity to reduce energy costs existed. 

The response: Paul Hammond, who oversees facilities and operations for the Department of Athletics, worked with the stadium contractor to adjust the software that controls the security lighting. Today, fewer lights are on overnight, yet the lighting is sufficient to meet security needs.

Campus-wide, Physical Facilities reports that 95 percent of incandescent light fixtures have been replaced by compact florescent bulbs or LED lamps.

Topic: Paper use

Several comments in the box have offered ways to reduce paper and printing costs.

The response: Two years ago, the University went through 55 million sheets of paper, much of it squeezed out of one of nearly 3,000 printers on campus. About one quarter of those printers were unique, allowing little opportunity for bulk savings of cartridges, parts or service.

Today, the University is about one-third of the way to standardizing the printing equipment across campus on the Cost-per-Copy Program. The initiative includes eliminating ink-jet printers when possible. The savings will be significant. Copies on the new equipment are about 75 percent less expensive than copies produced by ink-jet.

Further, the new printers are Energy Star rated, and the default is double-sided prints, which should help reduce the amount of paper consumed.

Please continue to submit your ideas to the ZipLine comment box, and we will continue to report on the follow-through in the E-mail Digest.


 First Early College graduates prepare for commencement