September rolled in bringing a heat wave, peaking in the upper 90s through Labor Day weekend. Students may have noticed classrooms and dorm rooms felt hotter than usual within this period due to a sustainability initiative Millersville University set in motion in alliance with its electrical provider’s efforts to prevent “brownouts” and “blackouts” in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.
On Sept. 4 and 5 from 2-5 p.m., Millersville reduced power to or shut down A/C units in classrooms and buildings all around campus. The time slot between 2 and 5 p.m. is considered a “high use” period.
A/C units can be one of the leading causes for power outage issues during heat waves due to their large power draw. Millersville also urged students to take part in the “Demand Response” initiative; this would include turning off unused appliances, shutting blinds, turning lights off when needed, and shutting doors. For more information on Millersville’s steps for preventing brownouts and blackouts, visit: www.millersville.edu/sustainability/sustainable-campus
What is a brownout?
Brownouts and blackouts are completely different. A brownout is what is initiated by an electrical company as a way to reduce the risk of a blackout, however they can also occur without the control of an electrical company due to old power lines and grids. Typically, when a company calls for a brownout, they will reduce the amount of electricity used by up to 25 percent.
A blackout, on the other hand, is a complete power outage that can span over an entire electrical grid. Blackouts typically happen with little-to-no notice and are more serious than brownouts.