On June 17 at the state Capitol, the university’s School of Business received the prestigious Power of Change Top State Building Award for energy efficiency. Its 2013 energy use shows that the School of Business “sips” energy, performing at an efficiency level that befits its LEED Gold certification.
Energy analysis of the building shows that even operating on an 81-hour-per-week occupancy schedule, it outperforms energy efficiency standards for a typical code-compliant building of the same size on a 40-hour occupancy schedule by an impressive 29.5 per cent.
“It is terrific to see that the School of Business energy savings are so substantial and match design performance projections,” says Suzanne Huminski, the university’s sustainability coordinator. “The building was designed to be a state of the art teaching and learning facility, and the green features enhance and protect the health, comfort, and productivity of the people who work there.” Building and operating a LEED building is a collaborative effort, and Huminski credits a large team of people for the achievement, led by Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations; Executive Vice President James Blake; Paul Loescher, director of architectural services; and John Ruggiero, director of facilities engineering; along with facilities staff, the design team, the trades staff who operate the building, and School of Business faculty, for their contributions to the success of the building that led to the receipt of the award.
Rob Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, addressed the gathering of more than 100 participants with a message that reinforced the importance of energy efficiency, both as a cost saving measure, but also as a key way to reduce carbon emissions. He noted, “The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”
The School of Business is just one of many examples of the university’s efforts toward sustainability. The Power of Change award follows the university’s recent selection for “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges,” which lists Southern as one of the 332 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada. In 2012, the university placed fourth of 98 schools in the country in reducing its electricity use during the Campus Conservation Nationals, a competition among colleges and universities to reduce energy consumption. Southern is a charter signatory to theAmerican College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which calls for schools to bolster their conservation efforts in pursuit of eventual carbon neutrality. The campus recently converted to LED lighting in campus garages and gymnasiums, and has an extensive recycling program – 28 per cent of the institution’s overall waste stream – that includes single-stream materials, fluorescent lights, batteries, e-waste, construction materials, metal, mattresses, and more. The university also purchases graduation caps and gowns made from recycled plastic bottles and has reduced pollutants by 50 percent in the campus Energy Center.