Energy-efficient universities: "Green" students and your bottom line

I hate to admit how long ago this was, but when I entered the university "way back when",....

...our ID badges were unsophisticated, laminated card-sized pieces of paper. Equally unsophisticated was my understanding of the word "sustainable." Honestly, my main sustainability concern was whether or not my coffee supply and caffeine reserves would sustain me through a night of cramming for this exam.

While concerns like passing exams are not likely to change much over time for college students, new concerns continue to surface. An article recently published by USA Today is a case in point: A 2011 study by The Princeton Review states that 69% of college applicants will factor a college's commitment to environmental issues into their decision to apply to or attend the school. That number increased 5% over 2008. And how many colleges have made a public commitment to sustainability and plan to be good stewards of the environment? Well, at least 311 of them do, as noted in the Review's newly published Guide to 311 Green Colleges.

In the U.S., the federal government has created the ENERGY STAR® qualification program to designate products that meet the federal energy efficiency requirements without sacrificing performance or features, while contributing to significant energy cost savings.

While many products in my home have an ENERGY STAR label, I hadn't paid much attention to it until this year when our very own FARGO® DTC4000/4500 Card Printer/Encoders earned the ENERGY STAR qualification, and HID launched the North American Go Green, Get Green promotion in the US and Canada. Out of curiosity, I then visited the government's website for the first time and found a wealth of information for universities, including tools for establishing a comprehensive energy management program, sustainability benchmarks and lists of energy efficient products to help reach the benchmarks.

I also learned that the energy-efficient features of the FARGO DTC4000/4500 printers make sense anywhere - in any industry and any country. Product enhancements that contributed to the ENERGY STAR qualification enable the printers to consume less energy in standby or sleep mode, to utilize a shorter sleep mode period and to switch power on and off quickly and easily via a power button rather than a power cable.

Bottom line? Although there's a healthy dose of concern for the planet among college students, I think many of them will continue to select a school based on the opinion of their parents or best friend, or perhaps based on their entrance exam scores. Even so, I have to admit I'm impressed that a good number of students are doing their homework ahead of time, seeking an institution with a plan to cut energy use, lower energy costs and ultimately have more cash to dedicate to curriculum, staff and quality of campus life.