CSUB going green

August 21, 2007
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu

California State University, Bakersfield is taking steps to go "green." The most recent step toward energy conservation is an aggressive plan that will reduce campus energy use by 15 percent. Mike Neal, vice president of business and administrative services, said, "Professional consultants conducted an overall audit of our campus and identified areas where energy can be saved. The crux of the project will focus on our central plant but the energy plan includes lighting retrofit and any other areas where energy consumption can be reduced through modifications or upgrades."

This significant reduction will eliminate more than 2 million pounds of greenhouse emissions each year. The plan will cost more than $5 million, but it will be paid for with savings generated by the reduction in energy costs over the next 11 years.

"Using energy efficiently and obtaining some energy from green resources are the components of CSUB's sustainable objective," said Sharon Taylor, assistant vice president of fiscal services. Although the plan will take 18 months to complete, CSUB can expect to see changes now. "Contracts have been awarded," Neal said, "and certainly by the start of school the project will be under way."

In the last few months, the university has implemented other changes and programs to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. For example, this summer CSUB replaced almost 200 air conditioning units in student housing with new energy-efficient models. Over their lifetime of about 11 years, these new air conditioning units will reduce costs, energy consumption, and carbon dioxide production.

In addition, CSUB has enrolled in the Demand Reduction Program sponsored by the California Energy Commission. As a participant in this program, the commission's demand response administrator notifies the university if energy consumption is approaching a pre-set maximum limit, which is measured on a pre-established basis. When this occurs, Taylor said, "we have a prescribed plan to reduce our usage to meet their demand reduction request without impacting key areas of campus."

University planning has ensured energy conservation in future projects as well, including the new math/science building that is expected be complete by winter quarter 2008 and the new student recreation center which broke ground in May. The 54,000-square-foot math/science building will utilize a thermal energy storage system that charges at night to accommodate peak energy consumption in the afternoon.

"In the design process for new buildings, we ask our design professionals to meet Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for energy efficiency and sustainability," said Fred Wilson, director of facilities, planning and development. "Our new math/science building and student recreational center have been designed with many of these sustainable standards."

LEED, a system regulated by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the "nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings," according to the council's website.