Three questions with: Dan Cohen, energy conservation guru

by rcnewsblog on September 26, 2014

IMG_4976CORConserving energy is a passion that Dan Cohen has brought to his new job at Roanoke College.

Cohen, an environmental enthusiast, was recently hired as an energy liaison with Cenergistic, a company that specializes in energy conservation and helps colleges and universities to be proactive in their energy consumption.

At Roanoke, Cohen wants to re-envision how energy is used and help to eliminate waste across campus. Whether it’s turning off lights, reducing running water or unplugging electronics from outlets, Cohen is pushing for small steps to enhance conservation at the College.

Cohen is on campus at all hours of the day and night, checking facilities and buildings for running electronics and appliances. He will change the settings or turn off HVAC systems in buildings or facilities that are not in use.

Cohen, who drives an energy efficient Toyota Prius,  spent the past six years as an environmental educator at the Claytor Nature Study Center of Lynchburg College in Bedford County, and before that at Stonewall Farm in Keene, N.H. He has a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H.

We spoke with Cohen about his role at Roanoke.

RC News Blog: Why did Roanoke College seek help from Cenergistic?

Dan Cohen: Roanoke College was looking for opportunities to proactively save energy after interest was exhibited by students, faculty and staff. Going green means saving green [money] for Roanoke and that’s what a lot of the Roanoke College community was looking for, how to save and, at the same time, reduce our impact on the environment.

RC News Blog: What are your job responsibilities at Roanoke?

Dan Cohen: Overseeing the energy conservation program which entails evaluating all the systems on campus, every facility and looking for opportunities to reduce energy waste, is the first task. I’m essentially evaluating habits, behaviors and systems of individuals and departments across campus, ensuring people are doing the simple steps to save and conserve energy. There are some big opportunities on campus for conserving energy and ultimately if we can get everybody involved it would achieve maximum savings.

RC News Blog: How does energy conservation impact your personal life?

Dan Cohen: Saving and conserving energy has always played a huge part in my life. My passion and love for the environment drove my decision to become an environmental educator and to be able to work and live out my values on the job. A lot of reason we do not conserve energy is a lack of communication and that’s my job, to help communicate about the importance of conserving both at work and at home.

-By Allison Shannon ’15

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