On This Day in IUPUI History: November 15, 1973

November 15, 1973. 

On this day, IUPUI chancellor Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., announced a Program for Energy Conservation and Economic Awareness for the IUPUI campus. The program would encourage IUPUI employees and students to be less profligate in their energy consumption. The program involved reducing building temperatures to 68 degrees during winter months, enforcing lower speed limits on campus, and promoting car-pooling by staff, students, and faculty.

The IUPUI effort was the result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, in which the United States took the side of the state of Israel. To punish the United States, member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) instituted an oil embargo on the U.S. and other countries that supported Israel, banning oil exports and cutting production. The embargo put severe strains on a U.S. economy dependent on imported oil. Prices spiked and shortages ensued. On November 7 U.S. president Richard M. Nixon promulgated Project Independence to promote domestic energy consumption and energy conservation. 

However, once the geopolitical trouble was temporarily settled and oil imports returned, profligate energy consumption habits resumed in the United States and at IUPUI. Architects designed buildings with lights that couldn't be switched off and which sucked cold air in during the winter and hot air during the summer when doors opened. Winter thermostat settings went back up. Students, staff, and faculty ignored car-pooling, public transport, and turning off idle machines. When subsequent world political events sent oil prices up, the campus reacted temporarily. But after each event people settled back into their accustomed habits.

Winners of Energy Savers Awards, 1983 1183-1791-018

To study IUPUI's spotty experience with energy efficiency through the years, please check out IUPUI Special Collections and Archives speccoll@iupui.edu

Updated Nov 15, 2018 by Editor Name Missing