Texas A&M University has reduced its energy intensity by 33 percent per square foot, according to a report in The Battalion.
The university achieved the decline by reducing total gross energy consumption by 24 percent, while the campus actually grew in terms of square footage by 16 percent, according to the report.
The student body recently approved of the Aggie Green Fund, a five-year program that raises $300,000 every year by charging each student $3 per semester to raise funds for campus sustainability initiatives generated by the students and faculty. The university also received funding from the State Energy Conservation Office.
The school has also provided a Utility Consumption Profiles website that allows students and faculty to see how much energy and water campus facilities are using.
The university’s Utilities and Energy Management division has identified several areas of additional potential energy savings. Thermostats set below 75 degrees, lights left on in buildings that are not being used, and running electrical appliances too frequently are all major culprits of campus energy waste, according to the division. The school has also provided a hotline where students can report energy and water waste.
Texas A&M is only one of several universities exploring energy saving initiative. The University of Kentucky, for example, is pursuing LEED certification for its Marksbury building, which it says saves 42 percent more energy than comparable buildings. The University of Pennsylvania led the Ivy League to take the top spot in the Environmental Protection Agency’s College and University Green Power Challenge, which recognizes collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. And the University of Kansas is starting work on a $25 million project to make the campus more energy efficient, with an expected payoff of $2 million a year in energy savings, upon completion of the work.