January 30, 2001
Volume 47
Number 20

Implementing Energy Conservation

A major energy conservation initiative has begun here on campus with two goals: to conserve energy and to minimize the impact of rising energy prices on Penn's operating budget. We urge the entire University community to lend their support and cooperation in these efforts as we embark on this ambitious program. The emerging energy problem may be reminiscent of the energy crises of the seventies and eighties when Penn was seeking ways to cope with and solve the critical social and technological problems that developed in the nation's energy consumption.

The recent increases in fuel prices, coupled with energy market volatility, have had an alarming impact on consumers; the operating budgets in Facilities Services have also been strained by these conditions. Increased costs related to utilities such as steam and electricity could adversely affect the resources available to facilities to operate and maintain the campus buildings and grounds.

In order to conserve energy throughout campus, we strongly recommend the following energy conservation measures to be adopted across campus.

Energy Conservation Recommendations

1. Set thermostats, to 65 degrees when offices, classrooms, labs and other areas are occupied and turn them down further at the end of the workday, to 59 degrees when an area is unoccupied.

While this may seem like a drastic measure, a significant reduction in energy consumption will result from this approach. By setting back the thermostat from 70 degrees to 65 degrees, energy consumption is significantly reduced.

We apologize for any inconvenience and suggest that those accustomed to warmer indoor temperatures may wish to dress warmly and leave a sweater or jacket at work.

2. Remove any items which block vents or radiators to allow for air to flow freely.

3. Besides lowering thermostats, we urge everyone to help conserve electricity by turning off lights--both fluorescent and incandescent--as well as computers, monitors, printers, scanners, copiers and other office and lab equipment when not in use for an extended period--especially overnight and on weekends or whenever possible. If in doubt about the advisability of shutting down a piece of equipment, check with a supervisor first.

4. Notify Facilities/Operations and Maintenance of any excessive drafts around windows or doors that could be alleviated. If there is a window air conditioner in a window, make sure it is properly sealed during the winter months.

5. Keep all exterior doors and windows closed to minimize infiltration of cold outdoor air into the buildings. In cold weather, open shades or blinds to allow direct sunlight to heat your room with solar heat. In many cases this also eliminates the need for electric lighting. At night, close the shades or blinds to keep in the heat.

6. Also notify Facilities when any building is unoccupied or out of service. Facilities/Operations and Maintenance can be reached at (215) 898-5833.

Facilities Services is also taking several additional steps to ensure that all heating and air conditioning systems are operating efficiently. These initiatives have been implemented in cooperation with representatives from the Schools, Centers and the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety.

Given current economic conditions and the drastic energy shortages we are beginning to experience as a nation, we can no longer afford to take energy for granted. Hopefully, we can join together in implementing a wise, sensitive and forward-thinking energy conservation plan.

The concerted dedication and determination of the faculty, staff and students to actively participate in saving energy and resources will help enormously. The occupants of Penn's many buildings each play a vital role in ensuring the best outcome for Penn as well as the environment. Controlling energy costs is something that we must do individually and collectively to maximize energy-related cost-avoidance.

Thank you.

--Omar Blaik, Vice President, Facilities Services

NFL Charities Grant to Head Injury Center

NFL Charities, an organization of the member clubs of the National Football League, has awarded a $110,000 grant to Penn's Head Injury Center (HIC) to study the long-term effects of concussions.

Concussions have always plagued physical sports, where contact is part of the game. But football players, such as Troy Aikman and Steve Young, are only among the most visible of the two million Americans that suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year.

"People rarely associate concussions with what they really aretraumatic brain injuries," said Dr. Tracy K. McIntosh, the Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Head Injury Center. "Brain injury is a silent epidemic in this country, affecting more lives than most people realize."

In fact, the statistics surrounding traumatic brain injuries are staggering. According to numbers compiled by the Brain Injury Association, approximately 5.3 million Americans--slightly more than 2% of the U.S. populationare living with a disability as a result of a severe brain injury. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in persons under 45 years old, occurring more frequently than breast cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Each year, approximately 100,000 people die from TBI, and 500,000 more are permanently disabled. Every 15 seconds, someone, usually a young person, suffers from a brain injury.

Despite these numbers, our understanding of the brain's long-term response to injury is still incomplete. "A brain-injured patient may look stable, but cells are still dying. Realizing this is important in developing ways to recover, regenerate, and stem the loss of brain tissue," said Dr. McIntosh. "We hope that by understanding the molecular and cellular sequences of events after trauma, we'll be able to determine when and where cells die in the brain and use that information to develop new therapeutic strategies to treat head injury."

The Penn Head Injury Center is one of seven nationally designated Head Injury Centers by the National Institutes of Health. As Director of Penn's Head Injury Center, Dr. McIntosh and his colleagues and collaborators in Neurosurgery, Bioengineering, Pharmacology and Pathology at Penn have made great progress in understanding and treating traumatic brain injury.

Their accomplishments include the discovery of the first link between traumatic brain injury and the development of post-traumatic epileptic seizures. They were also the first laboratory to identify the contribution of programmed cell death, called apoptosis, in mediating the progressive cascade of cell death observed after TBI. Dr. McIntosh and his colleagues have also pioneered research into the mechanistic relationship between head injury and Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and were the first to evaluate the efficacy of neural stem cell transplantation as a potential therapy for traumatic brain injury. Funding from the NFL Charities grant will support Dr. McIntosh's efforts in furthering this progress.

To learn more about the Penn Head Injury Center, see their web site: www.med.upenn.edu/cbir/.

NFL Charities is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 1973 by the 31 member clubs of the National Football League to enable the teams to collectively contribute to charitable and worthwhile causes on a national level. Since its inception, the Board of Directors of NFL Charities has agreed to grant over $40 million to over 250 different organizations.

The current Board of Directors includes Michael Bidwill, Hon. Jack Kemp, Jeffrey Lurie, John Mackey, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Delores Barr Weaver, and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 20, January 30, 2001