Powering down: MSU honored for energy-saving prowess
Michigan State University has been honored by the U.S. Department of Energy for being a national leader in reducing energy use.
Since it became a charter member of the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, a national energy-saving initiative, MSU has achieved a 10 percent reduction in energy intensity, which is the amount of energy used per square foot.
The 10 percent reduction, which is halfway toward the national goal of 20 percent by 2020, identifies MSU as a leader among the partners of the initiative.
Launched in December 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge calls on chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to lead the charge in energy-use reduction. To date, more than 110 organizations representing more than 2 billion square feet of space have accepted the challenge.
In a progress report issued today, the Better Buildings Challenge announced that, on average, those participating had reduced their energy intensity by 2.5 percent in the first year of the initiative.
MSU’s energy-reduction goal was surpassed, said Lynda Boomer of MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, by implementation of a comprehensive energy audit program of more than 100 existing buildings.
“This includes mechanical and lighting systems upgrades, improving new building and major renovation construction standards to exceed code-required energy efficiency, and encouraging the campus community to conserve energy through a variety of programs,” Boomer said.
In addition, the campus uses smart, real-time electrical meters on all major buildings to track energy consumption and relay that information to the campus through an energy dashboard on the Web.
MSU has taken many steps to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint.
Last year the MSU Board of Trustees adopted the Energy Transition Plan. Developed by a team of students, faculty and staff, the plan will guide the university’s future energy decisions with the goal of achieving a university powered by 100 percent renewable energy. For information visit www.energytransition.msu.edu/.
Other MSU energy-reduction highlights include:
Between 2009 and 2012, MSU reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent.
Last year, MSU’s Bott Building became the first campus facility to use geothermal energy for heating and cooling.
MSU uses the least electricity per square feet of any Big Ten university.
MSU’s showcase project is Anthony Hall. When energy-saving projects are completed on the 58-year-old facility, it’s expected to reduce annual energy use by 34 percent, while saving more than a half-million dollars a year.
For more information on that project, go here.
For information on the Better Buildings Challenge, go here.