Where are some of the most energy efficient universities in the country?
According to Cogeneration and On-Site Power Production, one is right here in Maryland. On average, U.S. universities spend almost $7 billion a year on utility and energy costs. Many have begun to reevaluate these costs, recognizing that less money spent on utilities could mean more money for students in the long run.
The University of Maryland sought to change its $40 million a year energy bill by installing more than 200 occupancy sensors in classrooms and buildings across campus. The school also purchases 66 million kWh of energy made from clean wind power yearly, offsetting about 60 percent of the school's electricity use.
In 2011, UM also installed more than 2,600 solar panels.
As school costs continue to rise, for both educators and students, it is vital that universities do what they can to alleviate soaring tuition and other expenses.
In addition to these changes, the university also:
- Reduced daytime energy demand by installing a thermal energy storage system behind a section of the school
- Replaced old lighting fixtures with new energy efficient ones
- Purchased renewable power from regional solar and wind projects.
The school also has a highly efficient combined heat and power plant, capable of heating the entire campus by producing 50 to 90 percent of its electricity demand.
Energy efficiency is an important part of today's society. By implementing more energy efficient standards, schools, private homes and businesses can save money as well as reduce their overall carbon footprint.