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$CORE program promotes energy efficiency in student rentals

October 25, 2012

SCOREEAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students living in off-campus housing are encouraged to sign up to participate in the Student and Community Outreach on Rental Efficiency ($CORE) program aimed at improving efficiencies to reduce residents' carbon footprint and lower their cost of living.

The UW-Eau Claire Student Office of Sustainability, a standing commission of the Student Senate that promotes environmental sustainability within the university, hosts the $CORE program with funding through a grant of just over $10,000 from Xcel Energy for the 2012-13 academic year. SOS also is partnering with Chippewa Valley Technical College on the $CORE program. Two CVTC residential construction instructors will train the UW-Eau Claire students who will serve as $CORE energy educators.

With four educators and two coordinators, the goal is for $CORE to provide 80 home audits this year, said Greg Nelson, intern for the Student Office of Sustainability.

"The purpose of the program is to create a win-win situation for students and the environment," Nelson said. "We are enabling students to reduce their environmental impact while saving money in the process."

Nelson said there will be no cost to the student renters or property owners and the audits will likely save them money. The renters will be educated about energy conservation and efficiency in their rental homes.

"As future homeowners, students need to be aware of home energy issues," Nelson said. "We hope to inform them on the subject and to develop lifelong conservation habits."

The audits will include installing conservation materials such as compact fluorescent lighting, faucet aerators, low-flow shower heads, window film and weather stripping in the students' homes. Students living in homes that are audited also will receive a free pizza from Jim's Pizza in Eau Claire as long as at least half of the residents of the home are present during the audit.

The $CORE program, which was first established as an energy conservation and education program at the University of Colorado Boulder, was first approved by the Student Senate last fall.

Forty-eight home audits were held throughout the 2011-12 academic year. The final report for the program estimated a total annual savings of $14,313.92 to student renters.

Any student who currently is living in a rental property is eligible to sign up for the program. After students sign up, they will be contacted by phone to schedule an audit time. Audits will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Greg Nelson, intern for the Student Office of Sustainability, at nelsontg@uwec.edu.

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