EMU reducing energy output and costs

Eastern Michigan University is reducing its steam production by 13.4 percent and campus-wide electrical consumption by 4 percent.

Steven Moore II, the energy and sustainability manager at EMU, said this reduction is a result of a number of efforts.

“These efforts include implementing energy-conserving equipment in new construction projects, identifying needed upgrades to improve the energy efficiency in existing buildings, and increased energy awareness on campus,” Moore said.

Moore highlighted some of the particular efforts EMU has made when it comes to the numerous construction projects taking place on campus.

“Eastern is incorporating many energy-saving features in new construction projects,” he said. “For example, in the Mark Jefferson project a number of advanced engineering features such as chilled beams for cooling, heat recovery and demand control ventilation will be employed to lower the energy usage of the building once it is complete.”

Some construction projects are specifically targeting energy reduction, including the installation of a new heating system in Wise Hall that allows for individual temperature control in each room.

Additionally, a new boiler plant in the DC-III complex will improve the efficiency of the heating system there and new windows in the Brown and Munson buildings will reduce heat gain and loss.

These and other small projects have been implemented on campus over a period of many years to reduce energy usage.

“Eastern has committed to provide funding every year to implement more energy saving projects,” Moore said, “and will continue to incorporate energy-saving designs in new construction projects.”

Moore said that the university also focuses not only how it can reduce its energy consumption, but also on where the energy that is consumed comes from.

Currently, the university purchases its electricity from local supplier DTE Energy, which uses some sustainable resources, like wind power.

Moore said, “The Physical Plant is constantly evaluating our energy providers and sources and making decisions as to where we should purchase EMU’s energy needs.”

However, Moore noted the higher price tag attached to alternative energy consumption.

“Sustainable sources are highly desirable, but also more expensive than traditional sources, ” Moore said. “When these sources come down sufficiently in price, it is likely that EMU will begin purchasing more sustainable energy.”

According to Shawney Monts, a senior biology major at EMU, sustainable energy is, “Natural energy, or energy that is powered by natural means and renewable resources, such as hydropower, solar power, geothermal power, ocean energy, and biodiesel fuel. It is important because it will help us preserve the world for future generations.”

Monts also stressed the financial advantages for conserving energy, noting the impact it has had on EMU’s wallet.

“When people across campus buy into energy reduction, it really makes a large impact, and it is showing up on our utility bills,” Monts said. “Since July 1 this year, EMU has saved over $50,000 on electricity purchases. Additionally, we are currently operating our co-generation gas turbine to produce electricity, which also reduces the utility costs on campus.”

According to Monts, the combined reduction of EMU’s steam production and its electrical consumption “equates to thousands of dollars saved in utility costs.”

EMU senior Angela Schifko, an electronic media major, said: “I think that it is great that Eastern is trying to save money. In these economic times every little bit counts, especially when it’s $50,000.”

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