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Allegheny College Launches Energy Reduction Program

Buildings on the Allegheny College campus will be audited by Siemens Building Technologies to identify potential energy savings as part of the school's participation in the Clinton Climate Initiative's (CCI) Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program.

Allegheny, in Meadville, PA, recently selected Siemens to provide an investment-grade energy audit, the first step in an energy use reduction plan. The college is one of several American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signatories to launch pilot projects through the retrofit program. Allegheny's goal is to replace aging elements of its infrastructure in order to achieve better energy efficiency as well as emissions reduction across all facilities at the college, which is the 32nd oldest college in the nation.

"Allegheny is not only committed to reducing our own impact on the environment, but we are also dedicated to providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to deal with ongoing environmental issues as they assume leadership roles," said President Richard J. Cook. "In launching a pilot program with this new partnership, we also hope to set an example for other institutions of higher education. Achieving climate neutrality and making investments in the environmental education of today's youth are critical to the long-term health of our economy, our society and our world."

Cook is one of 16 members of the ACUPCC steering committee. The partnership between ACUPCC and CCI allows schools access to funding mechanisms, technical assistance and state-of-the-art technologies from companies that have signed a memorandum of understanding with CCI. Siemens has agreed to perform the retrofits and guarantee the energy savings to their customers.

Late last year Allegheny College issued a request for proposals for a total demand-side energy reduction plan, under the guidance of the retrofit program. Siemens was selected in early March and signed a letter of intent in April to audit the energy use of a variety of systems throughout the campus infrastructure. The college currently already uses Siemens' energy management, fire/life safety and access security systems.

Following the initial audit, Siemens will use the data to prepare a formal presentation that outlines what facility improvement measures will deliver the best energy efficiency gains. The college expects to hear about upgrades to boilers, chillers, major HVAC equipment, water, thermal improvements, building lighting and system controls to net significant energy savings. The energy savings figure produced from the audit will provide the basis for the development of a performance contract that guarantees the savings and provides the financial means to pay for the retrofits.

The ACUPCC espouses a long-term goal of zero growth of global warming emissions on its member campuses. This commitment is further supported and is being implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), as well as Second Nature and ecoAmerica, both of which assist educational institutions to become more energy- and materials-efficient.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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