Wesleyan University is earning a 4.0 in energy efficiency.
The liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut, has unleashed a barrage of conservation measures that have saved the school over 28 percent in energy costs over the last six years. And the school is turning its investment in sustainability into an investment in its students: all of the money saved through energy efficiency is used to fund student financial aid.
“Wesleyan University has signed the American College and University Climate Commitment to become climate neutral by 2050,” said Peter Staye, Director, Energy Management, Wesleyan University. “Students, faculty and staff believe in sustainability. And the fact that money saved on utilities goes directly to student financial aid makes our energy-efficiency efforts even more important.”
In 2011, Wesleyan worked with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and Yankee Gas to address dozens of relatively small efficiency projects that add up to annual energy savings of over 123,000 therms — and savings of over $150,000 a year.
Some of the upgrades were the kinds of simple measures any homeowner or business owner can relate to. Sealing and weather stripping doors, windows, and other leaky spots in 12 buildings should save about 9,677,000 cubic feet of gas each year. Adding insulation to four buildings has reduced heating requirements, saving another 948,000 cubic feet of gas annually.
Plumbing played a big role, too. Low-flow toilets, faucets and showers were installed in the commercial spaces of dorms, academic buildings, the athletic center, the science center, and university apartments. Since using less water cuts back on the thermal energy needed to heat that water, the low-flow fixtures are expected to save 22,076,000 cubic feet of gas a year. A laundry ozone system at the gym allows for shorter wash cycles, cutting hot water use even further.
Wesleyan’s cogeneration power plant was upgraded to recover additional heat. Steam valves and fittings were covered with customized thermal blankets. The school’s energy management system was upgraded. And the campus market, WEShop, put in window replacements, high-efficiency refrigerators, and other energy-saving upgrades.
Next up: Wesleyan is putting new, efficient boilers in 13 buildings. An energy management system upgrade, energy-efficient window glazing, and adding insulation to steam lines and fittings are also on the docket.
With 300 buildings on campus, there is still plenty of work to be done. But when it comes to saving energy, Wesleyan University is at the top of the class.
|Annual Energy Savings (kwh/yr):||123,322|
|Total Savings ($):||$154,153|
|Total Project Cost:||$1,991,185|