EPA gives KSU award for energy efficiency

Douglas Miller

Kent State was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award March 1 for its leadership in energy use and management.

Thomas Dunn, associate director for Campus Environment and Operations, said Kent State and Princeton were the only two universities in the country to receive the award. He said in order to receive the award, the Kent State Power Plant needed to achieve 68 percent efficiency.

“We were able to achieve 71 percent efficiency and win the top award,” Dunn said.

According to the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, combined heat and power technologies produce both electricity and steam from a single fuel at a facility located near the consumer. These efficient systems recover heat that normally would be wasted in an electricity generator and save fuel that would otherwise be used to produce heat or steam in a separate unit.

Dunn said through Combined Heat and Power technologies at Kent State, the energy department has taken advantage of existing electric tariffs by reducing demand charges, reducing risks associated with premature equipment failure, reducing emission and ensuring the needs for steam and electric are met as the university looks toward the future.

According to the EPA estimates, the CHP system efficiently reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 13,071 tons per year.

This reduction is equivalent to removing the annual emissions from 2,169 cars and planting 3,241 acres of forest.

“Through the recovery of otherwise wasted heat to produce steam for campus heating, cooling and research needs, Kent State University has demonstrated exceptional leadership in energy use and management,” the EPA said in a letter informing the university that it had won the award.

Dunn also said because the university is generating a good portion of its power, it can avoid increased prices of electricity.

“It is a very clean technology and it is an economic savings for us,” Dunn said. “By using steam and electricity we are able to offset the costs for heating the campus – it’s kind of like recycling.”

Contact building and grounds reporter Douglas Miller at [email protected].