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Harvard U. makes moves for greener dormitories

In a move to become more eco-friendly,’ Harvard Business School installed motion sensor lights in its renovated dormitories this summer.
Burton Shen, a Harvard University senior, said he likes the motion sensor lights in his bathroom.
‘If I had my way, they’d be in all the rooms,’ he said. ‘Rarely do they go off when I don’t want them to. They stay on for at least 20 minutes usually, and it’s easy to turn them on just by moving a little bit.’
Shen said he does not feel Harvard’s attempt to create a greener environment has adversely affected his daily life.
‘Harvard has done a good job of going green,’ he said. ‘They are also making things optional, which don’t interfere with people’s lives if they don’t want it to.’
Harvard spokesman Jim Aisner said the university is committed to just that: Going green while maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and study.
‘As new buildings come online, various steps are taken to make them environmentally friendly and sustainable,’ he said. ‘We obviously want to make sure that is complementary to students’ efforts to study.’
Boston University Assistant Director for Facilities and Energy Services Andy Ly said motion sensor technology is beneficial as long as the technology is installed in a practical location.
‘Technology is a good thing where you minimize the waste of energy, but in terms of the application, it takes some thought to plan to get it done right,’ he said. ‘I’m not exactly sure a sensor in an apartment would make sense, but it would make sense in a conference room when people forget to turn lights off.’
Ly said BU is currently installing motion sensor lights in Mugar Memorial Library.
‘We are definitely going to place these occupancy sensors in the book stack area where you don’t get a lot of foot traffic because it’s more energy efficient that way,’ Ly said.
College of Arts and Sciences junior Andreas Westgaard said that placing motion sensor lights in a library makes less sense than in dorms.
‘Who wants to be writing a paper and have your lights turn off automatically?’ he said. ‘They should try it out in one of the dorms to see what the reaction to the sensors are.’
Though the initial switch to green living may be difficult, Westgaard said students will become more comfortable with it as time goes on.
‘Living green may be inconvenient at first, but once people become accustomed to it, it becomes second nature.’

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