College Kids Draining Dorm Electricity Grids

from the too-many-gadgets dept

College kids are showing up at school with an increasing number of gadgets and electronics – and they all need power. Universities are discovering that they need to upgrade their electrical systems to provide more power and more outlets per room – and even then they’re finding it’s sometimes not enough. One study found that an average freshman arrived with 18 electrical gadgets. One director of residences claims that dorm rooms these days look like mini electronics stores. Of course, I don’t think this sort of thing is limited to dorm rooms. I’m sure plenty of home users are discovering that they’re draining more electricity and using up more outlets than ever before.

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Comments on “College Kids Draining Dorm Electricity Grids”

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alternatives says:

Re: If you had a PE

Does this have Fire Hazard written all over it?

If you had training in building construction and how modern dorms are made, you’d know the answer is no.

Dorms today (and for many, many years) are made of concrete. Concrete doesn’t burn. And most places want sprinklers in any building over 3 floors.

Will the ‘stuff’ in the room burn? Yes. But due to the cell-block-type nature of a dorm room, the ‘fire hazard’ is limited to the one room.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: If you had a PE

If you had training in building construction and how modern dorms are made, you’d know the answer is no.

True, plus colleges must approve any modifications with the proper building inspectors (under most state health & safety laws), who are usually current on the latest fire codes and will force the school to redo anything that is not up to code. Also, most schools require a yearly inspection of the facilities, at which time anything not up to code will be fixed.

Dorms today (and for many, many years) are made of concrete. Concrete doesn’t burn. And most places want sprinklers in any building over 3 floors.

Maybe where you live, but many dorms here have cement outsides, cement supporting walls, and steel studs covered with fire-resistant drywall for non-supporting walls. It is cheaper that way, both in construction costs and in remodelling costs (if they wish to change the size or change the overall dimensions of the rooms.) That way they could fit two or three rooms within a cement box.

I only know this from experience in one college, though I have been in several other dorm rooms in other colleges around here and they appear to have a similar construction. It was not uncommon to see holes in the drywall in the few dorms I lived in, though they usually fined those who owned the rooms to fix the holes. And every dorm room I’ve either lived in or have visited has had both a fire alarm and at least one sprinkler.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: If you had a PE

What if:

1. Like a lot of universities, the dorms are old and built out of wood? Or some upscale universities, where even new dorms are built more like suburban apartments? For example, Foothill Student Housing at Berkeley is less than 10 years old, has lots of wood, and is next to dry, oily eucalyptus trees.

2. What if pot-smoking or incense-burning students either disable or cover smoke detectors with plastic bags?

3. What if a fire occurs in the lobby, but the stairways are blocked with students’ furniture on move-in/move-out day? Or like some places with “security” problems, they lock the emergency exits? Somebody has the key, and he is supposed to come over and open it during an emergency, but he’s gone on vacation.

Bob Bechtel says:

Same story, different setting

Several years ago, my daughter’s (private) high school made a major commitment to incorporate computers – requiring all incoming students to purchase or lease a laptop, putting a server into every classroom, providing network drops everywhere (pre-wireless), etc. As part of the process, they had to completely rewire the campus. Previously, classrooms typically had one power outlet, which was plenty for an overhead or film projector, but now they had to be ready to support 25 PCs. As I recall, a substantial part of a $1M grant to support the new approach went to infrastructure issues like that.

Bill says:

No Subject Given

I’m a long time out of college, but I do live/work in a creaky old house. In my 3rd floor office I have at least 3-4 computer systems running all the time. I’ve got every circuit on the floor tied up and have to go downstairs to microwave lunch. In the summer when the AC is running, sometimes turning on one more device trips the breaker. I don’t expect to stay in the building much longer and my income has sucked the last couple years so I’m hesitant to spend much dough on infrastructure upgrades…

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