Mississippi College

Tom Williams Seeks Energy Savings at Mississippi College

October 4, 2012

Tom Williams is a man on a mission from Mississippi College’s “energy police.”

At least that’s what some of his colleagues say when the longtime MC education professor visits their building to check on the temperature or reminds faculty and staff to cut off the lights when leaving the office.

After decades as an award-winning teacher, Williams is excited about his new assignment as Mississippi College’s first energy education specialist. Eventually, he’s hoping the Christian university saves millions of dollars on its energy bills. His task stretches from the main campus in Clinton to the MC School of Law in downtown Jackson and the Flowood Center in Rankin County.

Checking on the heating and cooling of buildings such as the A.E. Wood Coliseum, Provine Chapel, Chrestman Hall, Alumni Hall and facilities on the East Campus is part of his daily challenge.

“It is a big undertaking. It’s a big step to get everybody in line and influence the behavior of hundreds of people,” Williams said during a Nelson Hall visit in early October. “These ideas work, but the question is whether people are willing to make changes in their behavior.”

Seeing how often workers irrigate MC athletic fields, crunching energy numbers on his computer or keeping tabs on the hours that campus fountains are running, Williams stays passionate about his work. He’s driven to achieve results in the short term, and reach a long-term goal of seeing Mississippi College reduce energy bills by $6 million over the next seven years.

Collecting data on energy usage in dozens of MC buildings is a major part of his assignment, and so are a series of meetings with faculty and staff leaders. Sessions with student leaders will be scheduled later this fall.

“By January 2013, we can be able to say that this is working, that we are making tremendous progress,” Williams said. “I’ve already noticed some decrease in the usage of big machinery on campus. It is logical to think we are reducing costs.”

It’s not something that Williams is doing alone. The Jackson native works closely with consultants from the Energy Education group. Since 1986, their experts have worked with more than 1,200 clients across the nation, including many public schools and colleges. Their people have identified energy savings opportunities in more than 20,000 facilities involving virtually every kind of mechanical system and equipment manufacturer available today.

In addition, Williams is studying success stories at national energy savings leaders like Oklahoma State University. He stays in touch with his counterparts at in-state schools including Hinds Community College, Meridian Community College, William Carey University, and public schools in Petal, Wayne and Jones counties. Later this year, he’s attending an energy education conference in Nashville.

Williams knows he doesn’t have all the answers. He welcomes energy savings tips from faculty, staff, students and alumni by e-mail. He’s been on the job for only a couple of months, but is pretty positive about the reaction he’s getting. “So far, people have been very responsive.”

So far, Williams is very effective on the job, says Billy Thornton, the physical plant’s assistant director. “He’s a people person who gets along with everybody pretty well.”  He’s willing to ask questions and see if things can be done differently, Thornton said.

Like he did for years as a Mississippi College education professor, Williams doesn’t mind working hard on the Clinton campus. “He’s up here all hours of the night,” Thornton said.

For more information, contact Tom Williams at 601.925.3844 or twilliams@mc.edu.

 


Photo: Tom Williams

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