In 2009, members of Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) and Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises (VPAE) Vennie Gore sat down to discuss ways to improve sustainability efforts at Michigan State University. The culmination of their meetings shaped MSU’s Energy Transmission Plan (ETP). This ETP was centered around the consumption of steam, electricity and gas energy on campus.
In 2010, MSU began to implement this plan and projects focusing on the reduction and optimization of energy usage on campus. Most of the projects are considered ongoing processes and have yet to yield notable results, but others have begun to contribute to MSU’s energy reductions. Some projects include:
- The replacement of campus steam and electrical meters
- The replacement of pneumatic with digital HVAC controllers in 80% of residence halls
- The replacement of Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center’s outdated chiller (resulting in a savings of $1.1 million; Owen and McDonel have benefitted from similar actions).
- The implementation of energy conservation measures recommended through the ten year retro-commissioning program which was recently completed in all RHS buildings
- The reduction , replacement and updating of lighting in all RHS facilities
- The replacement of steam traps and implementation of continual monitoring of steam traps
- The installation of new windows in Brody Neighborhood, part of North Neighborhood, Hubbard Hall and Shaw Hall
The main objective of the ETP and the implementation of these projects was to reduce energy usage by 6% every year. A recent 10-year evaluation yielded promising results. The March 2019 energy data suggests that executing these plans has allowed RHS to reduce energy consumption at a rate of near 20% every year for the past three years. Overall, gas and electric use have decreased by 5% while steam use has decreased by 9%.
RHS is currently operating at 96.0 British Thermal Units (BTU*) per Gross Square Feet (GSF). This is a 27.6 unit decrease from 2010, when it was operating at 123.6 BTU/GSF. Likewise, MSU is currently running at a lower BTU/GSF than the national average of 114. This data demonstrates Michigan State is currently moving in the right direction regarding energy usage.
As MSU continues to take the necessary steps into a greener future, sustainability efforts continue to be implemented. The second phase of MSU’s ETP will continue to focus on steam, electric and gas reductions while adding importance to reducing the amount of water consumed by the university as well.
For more information regarding MSU’s energy initiatives and progress, visit ipf.msu.edu/environment/energy/energy-efficiency.
* BTU (British Thermal Units) - the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit