• Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.


It's not the size of the screen . . .

. . . it's the message of the maximum.

March 19, 2015

As with many campuses, Greenback U's is increasingly cluttered with TV screens.  Some of them display 24-hour news feeds.  Some show student-produced videos.  Some present slide decks of coming events or exam schedules or other information the controlling dean (and we all know that some deans are more controlling than others) wants students and faculty to know about.  Some of them (mostly in and around student centers and dining halls) even show Greenback's student-athletes (my, what a controversial term that's finally recognized to be) being more athletic than studious.

Administrative and campus-operations departments are also getting into the act.  Not a lot of them yet, but a few.  As the late-comers to the party, they seem (my impression only) to be suffering from a case of pixel envy.  Bigger is presumed to be better.  Even if all you're displaying is PowerPoint slides with white text on a black background, size is presumed to connote power.  Or importance.  Or something.

The newest TV screen on our campus is of the 65-inch variety.  It's mounted in a hallway.  Presuming you want to stay more or less in front of it, the farthest away you can be is about six feet.  Which is to say, it can be hard to get the whole thing in your field of vision all at once.  A smaller screen (say, 48 inches or thereabouts) would be more than sufficient, and easier to look at.  A smaller screen would also draw about half the current.  (This model draws almost 600 watts when it's turned on, and it seems to be turned on pretty much all the time.  Even when the building is unoccupied.)

The ultimate irony?  The stated purpose of the TV screen is to present an "energy dashboard".  A constantly updated picture of how much energy different buildings on campus are using.  Compared to an earlier baseline -- how much energy these buildings previously used -- so that we can calculate how much energy is being saved.  By the Energy Management Office.  Which installed the over-sized, energy-consumptive TV screen in the first place.

Just sayin'.

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G. Rendell

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