About 13 years ago, the State offered an opportunity for agencies to participate in an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) pilot program. SIUE was one of two universities to participate and had the largest program. Partnering with Johnson Controls, SIUE borrowed funds to upgrade the lighting and many of its energy control systems. The project has paid for itself and generated savings that were invested in buildings, such as the Museum Storage Building and the 200 University Park building, which is home to the School of Pharmacy. Over the loan's life, the University saved more than $2 million. The cost savings continues by about $1 million per year in reduced electric bills. The decreased consumption reduces our carbon footprint.
Working with its third grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, SIUE has installed new lighting controls in many buildings, improving campus lighting efficiency. Upgrading stairwell lighting in most campus buildings cut electrical use by 40%, while significantly increasing lighting levels. Motion sensors are present in the majority of classrooms. The Engineering Building has light sensors that control the light level based on the natural light conditions. These controls are in the corridors and lobbies, and raise or lower the output of the light fixtures as the light changes outside. The University uses energy efficient LED lights on all exit signs.
New controls and thermostats currently are being installed campus-wide.
The University replaced its aged, low efficiency, absorber chillers and CFC-based chillers with high-efficiency non-CFC chillers. The new chillers require 80% less energy input than the absorbers they replaced. At the same time, we added a 3 million gallon chilled water tank that is chilled at night, when electrical demand is low. The water is used for cooling during the day.
As part of a green power initiative, the University purchases 10% of its electricity from a wind farm in Oklahoma.
The University uses the maximum recommended blend of biofuels in the form of biodiesel fuel in its vehicles - 20% in the summer and 5% in the winter. SIUE also purchases ethanol-blend gasoline in bulk and most vehicles are flex fuel, capable of burning E85. The campus filling station has a special pump and tank designed and used for E85.
SIUE has joined the EPA's Energy Star Program.