Kent State working on sustainability projects to reduce energy costs

Lyndsey Schley

A state bond funds the projects that aim to reduce overall energy consumption by 20 percent in comparison to 2004, said Bob Misbrener, project manager in the Office of the University Architect.

“Kent State University is a leader in energy conservation,” Misbrener said. “We know how important it is to the world and the students that come here and are considering coming here. It’s right economically at this point in time, and it’s right for the world.”

The university will pay back the bond using the energy and water cost savings over the next 15 years, Misbrener said.

The university will renovate more than 1,799,000 square feet of dormitory and other spaces, said Kelly Tisdale, energy services manager at The Brewer-Garrett Company. The Brewer-Garrett Company is working with Kent State on many of its sustainability projects.

The projects will span 80 buildings or building sections, Misbrener said. Four buildings will get new roofs, six buildings will get new windows and many will get new lighting.

Bowman Hall will get new windows this summer and the library will get new windows in summer 2014, Misbrener said.

The new lights will still be fluorescent, but will use 20 percent less electricity and last twice as long as the current lights, leading to less waste and reduced maintenance, Misbrener said.

New faucets will also reduce water waste, Misbrener said.

In the residence halls, crack sealing will reduce energy loss by keeping the cold or warm air in the building, Tisdale said.

“The students themselves will see a much more comfortable environment,” Tisdale said. “That comfort doesn’t come at an expense. In fact, it comes at a savings. Not only is the student more comfortable, [but] the student is actually in a well-conditioned room with much control so we are using much less energy to deliver that comfort.”

The Schwartz Center will replace their heating and cooling units, Misbrener said. The chiller is over 30 years old.

LED lights will replace the bulbs on outdoor post and park-style lighting.

“Right now, if a light goes out, that whole area is dark,” Misbrener said. “With LED, it’s made of multiple little LED, so if one or two or whatever go out, it will not be a dark area. So, for the most part, you’ll have improved nighttime security [and] vision’s going to be better because you won’t have yellowish lights anymore.”

The university completed one energy conservation project at the Stark campus and one project for the Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem and Trumbull campuses in the last year, Misbrener said. In July 2012, the university added solar panels to the Field House.

“It’s been performing per what we all expected the output to be,” Misbrener said. “It’ll power about 50 average homes per year. It’s a pretty large system.”

The university will complete the residence hall project in the next two years and the Schwartz Center project by summer 2014, Misbrener said.

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Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].