SUU Receives Sizable Reward for Energy Conservation

Published: October 30, 2003 | Author: Renee Ballenger | Read Time: 2 minutes

The Plant Operations Department, specifically the team of skilled Electricians of Southern Utah University, received a check yesterday from PacifiCorp, the Utah power company, for $23, 816.

The monetary reward is the result of an energy-saving incentive program called The FinAnswer (“Fin,” as in finance) that the power company sponsors. Aaron Gibson, account manager from PacifiCorp, traveled to the southern Utah campus to make the check presentation to the Electricians unit of SUU. Gibson states that “SUU is miles ahead of typical businesses” in the efficiency of its power systems. He further comments that the department’s controls and methods are state-of-the-art.

Since just this past summer, the electricians team has replaced inefficient lighting systems across campus with state-of-the-art equipment, all for a third of the price an outside contractor would have cost.

In just a few months, this effort has saved more than $8,000, and substantial resources of energy. Electricians installed new lighting in the Centrum arena and office complex, in the multipurpose building gym, the gymnastics practice room in the Harris pavilion, and in the technology and music buildings, to name a few. And it wasn’t always just a matter of taking out the old and putting in the new, by any means. “Installing effective lighting is more than just considering ‘Can I read by this light.’” Luck Felstead, campus utility services manager, explains. “There are many important things to consider, like color, glare, and how much heat the lights put off.” The electricians worked with the people who would be using these areas and found out what kind of lighting best fit their needs and then determined the most efficient design. For instance, maintenance electrician Dallas Jones constructed some special equipment to hold the new lighting fixtures in the pavilion in a upside down position because it makes for optimal practice conditions for the student-athletes using that room.

Matt VanDenBerghe, electrician supervisor, feels very good about the work his team has completed. “The benefits have been triple win. We will continue to save energy forever. We used our own labor at a third of the cost of a contractor. And this was an opportunity to hire more students who want a flexible work schedule; they’re gaining invaluable hands-on experience. And finally, we have eased our maintenance strain with updated, efficient equipment.”

The $23,816 is a result of PacifiCorp’s promise to reward companies for major energy conservation practices. The funds will be put back toward more energy saving projects at SUU.

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