May 9, 2013
Northwest builds on reputation for energy conservation, ranks among top five in national competition
Northwest Missouri State University, which continues to be a leader in energy conservation and using alternative fuels, has been recognized as one of the nation’s top energy-reducing schools based on results of the 2013 Campus Conservation Nationals.
The competition ranked Northwest among the top five institutions in the nation for reducing energy usage between 16 and 19 percent in participating buildings. Oregon State University, St. John’s University in New York, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., rounded out the top five schools. A total of 120 colleges and universities across the nation competed and combined to save nearly $180,000.
Northwest saved 89,582 kilowatt-hours, averted 168,504 pounds of carbon dioxide and saved $5,374 during the four-week competition. That is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 13 passenger vehicles, CO2 emissions from 7,086 gallons of gasoline and CO2 emissions from electricity use in nine homes for a year.
“Northwest has a proud tradition of sustainability and conservation, and our success in Campus Conservation Nationals demonstrates that,” Dan Boyt, the University’s energy manager said. “Energy conservation is a top priority at Northwest, and we will strive to keep the momentum going.”
Northwest geared its participation toward freshman residence halls – Hudson-Perrin, Phillips, Franken, Millikan and Dieterich. In addition to representing Northwest in the national competition, the residence halls competed against each other to win a filtered-water bottle fill station, one of which is already located on the second floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union.
Residents were encouraged to take energy-reducing actions as simple as closing windows tightly, disconnecting plugs to electronics and appliances when they’re not in use, and shutting off lights when leaving a room.
Hudson-Perrin won the campus competition and the bottle fill station by reducing its energy usage by 21.3 percent. Millikan Hall finished second, reducing its energy usage by 16.3 percent.
Northwest’s tradition of sustainability, now three decades old, dates back to 1982 when the University established a biomass energy system utilizing wood chips under then-President Dr. B.D. Owens. In 1990, Northwest enhanced its energy program by adding discarded newspaper, corrugated and cardboard boxes, magazines and other clean paper products to its alternative fuel processes. In 2001, Northwest began using animal waste from its farm to create a virtually odor-free pellet that is burned as fuel.
Last fall, the University adopted an energy policy to further curb energy waste by establishing standards for scheduling and temperature setpoints across the campus. Northwest is partnering with its facility services manager, Aramark Higher Education, to implement a program to improve energy efficiency and focus on energy consumption reduction strategies across the campus. The energy program is anticipated to yield annual utility savings of more than $300,000.
Additionally, Northwest recycles plastic, aluminum, glass, copper, brass and steel it collects on campus, and it collects food waste discarded at Campus Dining locations for composting. In 2012, the University realized more than $17,000 in savings by diverting about 35 percent of its trash from the local landfill.
“The compost is the easiest, fastest way we’ve cut down on the number of tons going to the landfill,” said Chris Redden, hardscape and recycling supervisor at Northwest. “We take 1,500 to 2,000 pounds a day out of our trash trailer, and at $54 a ton, the savings adds up pretty fast.”
This spring, Northwest again competed in Recyclemania, an annual eight-week competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities. The University competed in a variety of categories and ranked highest in food service organics, placing 35th among 173 participating institutions and recycling about 7½ pounds per person during the contest.
Northwest also received the 2011 Annual Recycling Award from the Missouri State Recycling Program for a community recycling project it helped establish with the city of Maryville. Last year, the Sierra Club ranked Northwest at No. 89 on its list of “cool schools,” which surveys four-year institutions about their environmental goals and achievements.
For more information about the 2013 Campus Conservation Nationals, visit www.competetoreduce.org. For information about sustainability and recycling at Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/services/sustainability/.
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Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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