UNH Earns High National Ranking for Energy Conservation Efforts
By Jennifer Vento
UNH News Bureau
DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire ranked in the top five percent of research campuses for energy efficiency, according to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy.
UNH was one of 180 colleges and universities to be surveyed by the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, according to Jim Dombrosk, manager of the UNH campus energy heating plan. The study was the first of its kind and indicated that UNH saved more than $4 million in energy costs over the last year, Dombrosk said.
The mean rate of energy consumption costs UNH's peer campuses $10,110,158, Dombrosk said. Because of its energy efficient programs, UNH spent $5,950,067, saving $4,160,093.
"We have a dedicated energy office that's been here for more than 20 years," Dombrosk said. "I think it's the continual, persistent nature of always focusing on that effort that has given us this ranking."
Dombrosk hosted a visit last week from Mike MacDonald, a senior staff member at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. McDonald said talking with campus staff who tell him of the "behind the scenes" practices explains why UNH's energy efficiency is so high. Dombrosk said meters are read very carefully every month and that numerous lighting fixtures have been replaced with more efficient ones. The library, MacDonald noted, is an excellent example of light efficiency because of its large windows and low table lamps.
"The university does a good job keeping the control systems working as well as performing lighting upgrades," MacDonald said. "The lighting is more efficient and the controls help make sure you're not wasting energy."
The university is also considering entering into a partnership with the state energy office and Oak Ridge Lab, whereby UNH agrees to maintain their current plan of energy control and efficiency and, in return, receives design assistance for new and upgraded facilities from Oak Ridge Lab architects.
For more information, log on to www.energy.unh.edu.