Simpson needs to cool off

Simpson has money to burn.. But instead of spending it on scholarships or a new student center they are spending it on America’s favorite drug – fossil fuels.

Just before our holiday break, students received an ominous e-mail from the director of student housing. Entitled, “IMPORTANT,” it instructed all students to set their thermostats at 70 degrees Fahrenheit when leaving for break. The justification, “To prevent any maintenance issues if the weather gets cold.”

I live in a theme house, and I try to keep the heat set below 70 F when I am in the house, let alone when I will be gone for three weeks. Growing up I learned to turn the heat down to 62 F when asleep, and down into the lower 50s when leaving for extended periods of time.

I was the last person to leave our house this year. I compromised and turned the heat down to 62 F on my way out the door. This means that I left the heat in my house a full 30 F above freezing. This was not warm enough for maintenance. When I returned from break the thermostat was set to 70 F. Beside the thermostat was a note from maintenance, “Keep thermostat set at 70 F!”

Last time I checked water froze at 32 F. I am pretty sure the pipes in my house will not freeze even if I turn the heat down to 40 F. The heat certainly does not need to be a full 40 F above freezing in order to prevent damage. I remain bewildered as to why maintenance wanted the heat set at 70 F.

I turned the heat down in our house because I believe in energy conservation. There was no financial motive on my part. Simpson, however, spent a lot of money heating all of the dorms on campus to a toasty 70 F for three weeks while they were unoccupied!

Turning dorm thermostats back to 50 F could save Simpson nearly 50 percent on its heating bill for three weeks. With 1,000+ living spaces on campus that is thousands of dollars in extra scholarship money.

Whether it is the environmental aspect or the fiscal aspect that motivates Simpson, I challenge the college to roll the thermostats back to 50 F next year during winter break.

Brian Depew