EKU officials say energy plan already working

RICHMOND — Eastern Kentucky University's efforts at making a more energy efficient campus are about 75 percent complete, school officials say, with a goal to be done by the spring of 2010.

James Street, the university's associate vice president for capital planning and facilities services, said the project is already beginning to show results, just a year after it started.

Street told The Richmond Register the school's utility bills are dropping and when the project is over the campus' $6.4 million annual utility budget should shrink.

"We are starting to see that drop that was anticipated," Street said. "We have seen very tangible results and have had a great deal of success with this project."

Upon the project's completion, the energy savings will be equivalent to preserving 227 acres of forest land, taking 6,229 cars off the road and preventing 179 rail cars of coal from being burned.

Dan Crowley, a representative of Siemens Industry Inc., which is handling the energy efficient makeover at 86 campus buildings, projected the project will save about $8,000 a day in campus utilities once complete.

The college will have invested about $27 million upon the completion of the project. No additional taxpayer dollars were used to finance this project, Crowley said.

"It's financed based on the energy savings," he said.

Work remaining to be completed includes lighting upgrades across campus, expected to be done just before Christmas break, said Michael Azzara, who represents Siemens' building technologies division.

"We're touching almost all the buildings on campus," Azzara said. "Throughout the entire campus, we've replaced almost all of the lighting technology from incandescent to a much more energy efficient fluorescent lighting," Azzara said.

EKU President Doug Whitlock said the project is an attempt by the university to be a "good steward of the environment."

"It's going to significantly reduce this institution's carbon footprint," Whitlock said. "It's going to reduce our contribution to a variety of greenhouse gases."