HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The University of Southern Mississippi has used several energy conservation measures to save more than $10 million since 2009.
During fiscal year 2009, Southern Miss spent $7.2 million on energy costs. For FY 2014 which ended June 30, the university’s total electric bill was $4.5 million - a savings of $2.7 million over the 2009 costs.
The savings, which came despite energy rate increases, was due to reduced consumption - including turning off lights, unplugging appliances and even changing light fixtures.
“This has been a campus-wide initiative, it’s a big animal and we have done a little bit at a time,” Chris Crenshaw, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, told the Hattiesburg American (https://hatne.ws/1zzn5u3 ).
He said in 2014 the costs went up slightly because of rate increases and an unusually frigid winter.
“It helps the university significantly when you can reduce an annual expense by that amount,” Crenshaw said. “The variable we can’t control is rate, but the thing we can control is education and installing more efficient systems.”
In 2010, the state College Board mandated that all universities reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by the end of fiscal year 2015.
Crenshaw said USM at the end of 2013 showed a 29.5 percent reduction.
“We spent $1.2 million on the electrical infrastructure upgrade project and $2 million on energy reduction and retrofits to some facilities,” Crenshaw said. “We tried to use the money wisely.”
Crenshaw also attributed savings to retrofitting and taking some older buildings offline. He said new residence halls - Century Park North, Century Park South, renovating College Hall and the ongoing construction of Scianna Hall have or will help reduce energy consumption.
USM also installed LED outdoor lighting on about half the campus.
Crenshaw said energy-saving measures will continue.
“We started this in 2009 and there is no end date. There is always something we can do to reduce energy consumption,” he said.
Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com
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