KSU energy conservation plan expects to save $2.4 million annually

Kate Murphy

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved an energy-conservation project on March 9 that will save $2.4 million among all eight campuses annually.

The Ohio legislature passed a law called House Bill 251 that says all Ohio universities need to reduce their energy conservation by 20 percent by 2014.

“We did an energy conservation master plan that was adopted on Oct. 15, 2008 and that established a bunch of guidelines,” said Robert Misbrener, university architect project manager. “There were studies done, and we had a consulting firm come in and show us where we stood energy wise and how much money we’re going to save.”

Misbrener states this is a “three-phase project”.  The first phase of the project on Stark campus, beginning in July, costs $1.3 million dollars, covers 340,000 sq. feet and will save the university $180,000 annually. The energy savings will pay off the project in 10 years. Stark is 90 percent completed and will be finished by June 2011, Misbrener said.

The second phase is the other regional campuses, which is another 810,000 sq. feet, $5.4 million construction costs and $440,000 of annual savings. It will be paid back in 15 years. It will take about a year to complete all the necessary changes.

“We are fully expecting to save more than predicted.”

“We just closed on that deal last Thursday of this past week, so the money is now available and we’re going to start on that project,” Misbrener said. “All the background work has begun, and we know what the proposal is, but we were just waiting for the funding. So now that it is in place, we can begin and we’re so happy.”

The final phase is all the changes and replacements that will be done across the campuses, primarily main campus. The construction cost for main campus will be $18.4 million dollars, saving $1.8 million annually. It will be paid off in 15 years.

“Right now the Residence Services annual utilities bill is about $5 million a year for all the halls and this will takes us down to about 3 million which is a great improvement,” Misbrener said. “That’s pretty substantial stuff right there.”

All the single pane, 40-year-old windows will be replaced in Verder, Prentice, Dunbar, Lake and Olson halls. Occupancy censors will be put into every room that will turn the light on when someone enters and turn it off when they leave to save energy.

Another new technology being added to the residence halls is a wireless censor in each area that will monitor when someone is in the room and adjusts the temperature accordingly. When a student is in their bedroom, it will be on roughly 70 degrees and go down to roughly 60 degrees when not in the space. This alone will save a lot of money.

“This number of savings is guaranteed by the contractor,” said Misbrener. “We are fully expecting to save more than predicted.”

Contact Kate Murphy at [email protected].