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Trustees Continue Support of Penn State’s Sustainability Goals


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The approval of an additional four design firms to handle energy-conservation related projects was part of next steps taken by the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital planning to continue the reduction of the University’s energy use. The four firms, McClure Co. of Harrisburg; Mortenson of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Precis Engineering of Ambler, Pennsylvania; and Wayne Crouse Inc., of Pittsburgh, on Feb. 23 joined the two previously appointed firms as those approved for Energy Savings Plan projects.

Adding four additional firms to the approved Energy Savings Plan (ESP) list offers the benefit of having some of the firms be closer to the University’s numerous campuses and adds some firms with a focus on less technical or more equipment-based projects. Projects will be assigned to one or more of the six firms based on which offers the best fit for the specific project. For unique or larger projects, the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) may have the six firms compete through a request for proposal process.

Of the two original firms appointed in 2015, The Efficiency Network (TEN) is focused on lighting and mechanical systems, while Burns & McDonnell has expertise in more complex and utility projects. During the past two years, TEN and Burns & McDonnell have already begun work on energy savings projects at Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Abington, the University Park Airport and in several buildings at University Park. Completed projects include the re-lamping of Beaver Stadium with LED lamps and lighting controls, and replacing steam turbines at the West Campus Steam Plant.

ESP projects include energy-saving renovations and retrofits where the cost of the project, the energy savings and the financing determine the payback period. Multiple ESP projects have been completed at University Park and many campuses. To date, most of those projects have been less than $5 million.

The University continues to be on track to achieve several sustainability milestones:

  • 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020;
  • 20 percent reduction in building energy usage over the next 10 years through a commitment to the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge; and
  • $55 million investment in energy savings over 5 years, of which approximately $40 million has been committed so far.

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