Resources for Energy Conservation Education

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.

Bridgewater State College
Department of Geography and Center for Sustainability
Revised February 17, 2008

This page is my part of an ongoing project to improve the efficiency of energy use at Bridgewater State College. The original purpose of this page was to provide general resources for communications students who worked on an educational campaign for the campus. Those resources have been retained on this page, and additional resources - related to the January 2002 Energy Awareness & Conservation Week. Those early efforts helped to prepare the campus for a much more comprehensive approach, embodied in the Center for Sustainability.
If you have questions or suggestions for this page, please contact me at or 508-531-2118.
The energy pledge campaign has helped thousands of people to identify steps that they can take to reduce their energy consumption, yielding both environmental and national-security benefits. I discovered that I am already following a number of the recommendations, but I found quite a few new things I can do to help!

Be sure to view the "Green Ribbon Flash" movie to see an enlightening comparison between the patriotism of the 1940s and today's softer brand.
Take the pledge


Bridgewater State College has been faced with increasing energy costs in recent years - nearly tripling in just a few years. This means that money that would otherwise be spent on educational initiatives (such as undergraduate research grants) must now be spent on fuel and electricity. The Energy Conservation Committee includes college business managers, facilities personnel, computing staff, and educators. The committee is charged with finding ways to reduce spending on energy. This effort is proceeding on a variety of fronts, including a campus communication program. The communication program will focus first on encouraging energy conservation at the individual level. A secondary aspect of the communication program is to encourage people to share suggestions for energy conservation with the committee.

The easiest way to change people's energy consumption patterns is to make sure that they pay increased fees for increased usage. For a variety of technical reasons, this is not possible on this campus (or most others). The energy communication project must therefore be aimed at promoting a campus culture that includes conservation of energy and other resources. In the absence of price incentives, another source of motivation is needed. In my experience, people become interested in changing their behavior when they learn about the consequences of choices they make about energy and other resource use.

Most electricity in the Northeast is generated by the burning of coal. This is a relatively abundant fuel, but its use has a variety of environmental consequences, including a contribution to global warming, acid rain, atmospheric haze. The mining of coal may involve significant land clearing, land alterations, and water pollution at the site of the mine.

Global Energy Transitions

Download the PowerPoint presentation I used for my campus lecture on January 24, 2002.

The following resources are relevant to the presentation:

Discuss energy and the future at The Oil Drum. Specifically, look at the sigmoidal curve in oil production, just in the past few years: At this point, "proved" and "probable" reserves are almost identical.

General Resources

The Energy Department's home page is the place to find official U.S. policy on energy. Also see the Department's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site for alternatives.

For a different approach, see the Center for the New American Dream (CNAD), whose motto is "More fun; less stuff."

U.S. EPA is on board -- at least in part -- on February 15, 2008 I attended a session of the AAAS Annual Meeting in which Dr. George Gray discussed the EPA research priorities related to sustainability.

My What Can I Do? page provides people with ideas on what they can do to conserve not only energy but other kinds of natural resources. Professor Pamela Hayes-Bohanan provides many more ideas about ways that individuals can conserve on her Simplify Your Life pages.
"Winning the Oil Endgame offers a coherent strategy for ending oil dependence, starting with the United States but applicable worldwide. There are many analyses of the oil problem. This synthesis is the first roadmap of the oil solution...." (From the Executive Summary of the book.)
ENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. EPA that offers businesses and consumers energy efficient solutions. This site provides a variety of messages about energy conservation for different constituencies - including homes, schools, religious congregations, and small businesses.

To get a lot of information on practical devices for conserving energy and water, go to the Real Goods  home page. This company specializes in conservation products ranging from small items such as low-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow water nozzles to complete solutions to take your household completely off the grid. One possibility: the college could use its volume buying power to provide energy-saving products to students and employees at a discount.

Early in 2001, the following statement got a fair amount of media attention: Interfaith Call for Energy Conservation and Climate Justice.

Campus and Business Programs

Student Pugwash USA
Student Pugwash USA is a student-led effort to engage science education for the public good. See what they have to say about energy, particularly in the United States.

Almost every college campus has some kind of environmental studies program. In recent years, attention has turned to the environmental performance of the campuses themselves. The facilities departments at Lewis & Clark College and North Carolina State University are sharing their specific experience.

Finally, the Alliance for Environmental Innovation works with private companies to implement innovative environmental strategies; some of their ideas may be useful to the campus community.  

Search this site:
About this site

This site is maintained for the benefit of the Bridgewater State College community by James Hayes-Bohanan.
Views expressed here are the responsibility of Dr. Hayes-Bohanan.