Students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will help local businesses save money by conducting energy audits and recommending improvements through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Rebuild America program, UNLV President Carol C. Harter announced Monday (May 11).
Harter and executives from the Holiday Inn signed Rebuild America Partnership Agreements Monday in a ceremony during which students in an experimental graduate class presented the results of an energy audit the class had performed at the Holiday Inn-Emerald Springs to the property's executives.
"We are excited to join more than 180 Rebuild America partnerships nationwide," Harter said. "Through this program, UNLV will collaborate with local businesses to save energy and create awareness of energy conservation while providing an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience."
In a pilot program begun in January, students in an experimental graduate class taught by Tom Jones, associate professor of hotel administration, completed an energy audit of the Holiday Inn-Emerald Springs in cooperation with Nevada Power Co., Sloan Valve, and Southwest Gas Corp.
The students' findings, presented to Holiday Inn executives today, included recommendations concerning lighting retrofits, interior and exterior water usage, and heating and air conditioning system maintenance.
Jones said UNLV's William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration will offer a similar undergraduate course next fall, and plans are underway to develop a multi-disciplinary undergraduate course with participation of such departments as mechanical engineering and architecture.
Rebuild America is a network of community partnerships - made up of local government agencies and businesses - that save money by saving energy. These voluntary partnerships work with the Department of Energy to choose the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of commercial, government, and apartment buildings.
Rebuild America supports them with business and technical tools and customized assistance.
"Rebuild America is exactly the right kind of program for UNLV and Nevada," said Nevada program director Doug Avery, "because they choose which buildings to renovate, how much energy to save, and the best technologies to use. Then we help them make that happen."
By the year 2003, 250 Rebuild America partnerships will be involved in more than 2 billion square feet of building renovations, which will save some $650 million every year in energy costs, generate $3 billion in private community investment, and create 26,000 new jobs nationwide, according to the Department of Energy.