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April 22, 2020

MSU recognized on Earth Day for making buildings greener

Michigan State University was recognized today – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – for achieving its goal of reducing energy use by 20% in its 20-million-square-foot building portfolio by 2020. 

The effort was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, which the university completed two years ahead of schedule. The federal program works with more than 360 partners nationwide to drive the acceleration of cost-effective and proven strategies to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s buildings, plants, and homes. 

Through campus-wide efforts, Spartans surpassed the goal and achieved an energy savings of 21% due to greater efficiency efforts as of the end of 2018. 

“Michigan State continues to demonstrate the core principles of sustainability: being environmentally and fiscally responsible while also providing a safe, secure, and productive learning environment for our students, faculty and staff,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Energy efficiency is not often in the spotlight, but it is the most important investment we can make to the benefit of future generations of Spartans, Michiganders and Americans alike.” 

The DOE shared in celebrating MSU’s sustainability success. 

“I am pleased to recognize Michigan State University for achieving its Better Buildings Challenge goal,” said Daniel R Simmons, DOE assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Through their commitment to affordable, efficient energy, our goal achievers are displaying leadership and demonstrating the potential for public-private partnerships to drive energy cost savings in buildings and our communities.”

MSU focused on buildings of highest energy use as an opportunity to save energy and improve efficiency across the campus’s 20 million square feet. University staff carefully assessed the buildings and worked to improve their insulation, add LED lighting, install more efficient building environmental systems and improve steam distribution, which provides heating and cooling. MSU also benefited by switching its power plant fuel source away from coal to natural gas and by installing solar arrays on 40 acres of its parking lots. 

“It’s amazing to see how much the aggressive focus MSU facilities staff has put on energy efficiency in buildings across campus has paid off in financial savings and a reduced carbon footprint,” said Dan Bollman, MSU vice president for strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. “Along with the university’s push to use more renewable energy sources like our solar carport arrays, and to reuse and recycle waste at the Surplus Store and Recycling Center, our energy efficiency efforts help make MSU a national leader in sustainable practices, and we have more improvements planned. Just this year, we are adding another 50,000 new LED light fixtures to continue our drive for even greater energy efficiency.” 

“To reach such an aggressive goal two years early is a significant achievement,” added MSU Sustainability Director Amy Butler. “It demonstrates our continuing commitment to sustainability as a core value of the university and our mission to inspire others to take action for a sustainable global community.”

For more information on MSU sustainability, visit For further information on MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, visit

By: Dan Olsen

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