This fall, the Environmental Advisory Committee presented updated graphs of heating oil use to the college, reflecting improvements in building insulation and energy efficiency. These results show that there was a massive drop in heating oil use in fiscal year 2012 compared to previous years (Fig 1, click to enlarge). The college used around 77,000 gallons in FY2012, a drop of around 15 percent from FY2011 (the recent year with lowest use). Perhaps the most impressive data point on all of the graphs presented is the drop in heating oil use in the Admissions building, completely renovated last year, to about a third of its usual amount (Fig 7, below).
It is hard to say to what extent these impressive gains are attributable to the mild winter and slightly smaller campus population, and to what extent they are due to the insulation work and other efforts. But despite the huge drop in oil use the college saw a rise in the total cost of heating oil because of soaring prices. From a budgeting point of view the college will have to continue working hard in order to stand still, as the price of oil rises. The EAC is currently expanding on this report to cover electricity and propane use, and further tracking year-to-year will help them tease out the effect of mild weather and changing campus populations.