First College in Minnesota Claims Energy Saving Program

March 05, 2018 08:12 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- You know the difference some simple energy-saving practices can have on your home utility bill. One local college has used that same mindset for its own building.

"We looked at it, we thought there would be a lot of applications we could use," Riverland’s Brad Doss told us.


In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Commerce came up with a powerful idea.

It's called the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program, a way to help with the development and implementation of large-scale energy efficiency projects.

"They oversee it for all state entities including colleges and universities," Riverland Community College chief financial officer Brad Doss said.

Now, Riverland community college has become the first college in the state to implement the program, with the help of an energy services contract with Honeywell.

"One of the things we've done was to install occupancy sensors in rooms that not only control lighting but also they shut down the ventilation to the systems,” Riverland Physical Plant Supervisor Shawn O’Connor said.

“We did all of our exterior parking lot lights" Brad Doss added.

“We also did a little bit in water conservation,” Shawn O’Connor told us. “Aerators on a lot of our faucets that reduce the amount of water going to any fixture in the building.”

"The total cost of the project,” Brad Doss said. “Came in at 1.5 million," which the college will finance through a 15 year, 2.5 percent loan. 

"We're looking at our annual savings of being about $136,000 a year, our utility bills will be going down.”

And one of the key components of the program is the guarantee.

"If we don't meet those numbers Honeywell will reimburse us for the difference," Riverland’s Brad Doss said.

And whether you're retrofitting an entire college or installing energy efficient light bulbs at home, the lesson is the same:

"There are ways out there to conserve energy that isn't so expensive that have a real good payback,” Riverland’s Shawn O’Connor said.

Riverland made energy efficiency improvements at both of its buildings in Austin, as well as on its campuses in Albert Lea and Owatonna



Dan Conradt

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