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Energy saving plan allows WKU to do more while using, spending less

When it comes to utilities, the trend has been to spend more even while using less.

However, a combination of energy saving initiatives have allowed WKU to do more while using, and spending, less.

Over the summer, WKU adjusted hours of operation to reduce cooling demand during peak usage hours. This, along with efforts to reduce energy consumption through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), resulted in a 16.2 percent reduction in electrical usage compared to the summer of 2010, according to Dale Dyer, plant operations manager.

The savings is more significant since the square footage being serviced increased almost 2.8 percent with the addition of Gary A. Ransdell Hall.

“Ransdell Hall was not open a year ago,” Dyer said. “And there are more students on campus and we still used less electricity, which is good news.”

How much did WKU save? That depends on the calculation.

By comparing electrical bills for the two summers, WKU saved $160,802. However, if WKU had used the same amount of electricity, it would have paid $271,253 more in 2011 because of the increase in cost per kilowatt-hour, Dyer said.

“We were able to use less, pay less and cover more,” he said.

A major component of the ESPC has been converting to more energy-efficient lighting fixtures, Dyer said.  Another part, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems enhancements, were plugged in during the summer, “so we really haven’t seen their real effect yet,” he said.

WKU administrators will use the data collected this summer to determine what action will be taken next summer. “Those discussions have already started,” Dyer said.

Contact: Dale Dyer, (270) 745-6179.

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