Universities save money with green technologyIn a time when university budgets are tight, administrators are doing everything they can to save money. While some schools are raising tuition rates or cutting programs, others are trying to develop innovative strategies to deal with lower university funding. One of the latest ways administrators are slashing costs is by implementing green energy sources.

Saving money and resources
With energy prices rising and concerns about the environment increasing, more people are turning to green energy solutions to cut expenses and pollution. Using renewable energy can be especially cost-efficient for universities, which often have multiple large buildings and dormitories to power.

One of the latest projects will take place in Kalamazoo, on Western Michigan University's campus. The school has new plans to install a solar system on the roof of the recently constructed Sangren Hall. In a true cost-cutting fashion, the school is using the leftover construction money to fund the project, rather than hiking tuition and fees. The school plans to bid the contract out for the best price, and officials hope to have reached a deal with a contractor by December.

"Adding the solar panel scope will lower the annual operating costs of the building for many years to come," WMU's Office of Sustainability director, Harold Glasser, told Michigan Live. "For Sangren, we indicated it was going to be a very energy efficient building and strive for a low operating cost to save taxpayers and WMU money each year."

A growing trend
Across the country colleges are taking the necessary steps to become leaders - in both cost cutting and green technology. Universities are increasingly using green technology to power their classrooms, laboratories and dorms.

WMU isn't the only school that wants to save money by powering its buildings with green technology. Ohio University recently announced a new energy performance contract that should save the school more than $38 million in water and energy expenses over 15 years.

The project will include HVAC improvements, pipe insulation, interior lighting retrofits and water conservation strategies.

The University of Iowa may also see the implementation of green technology in the near future. State senator Rob Hogg wants to spend more than $3 million on new solar technology so the school can enjoy energy savings of about $100,000 per year. Besides the cost savings, he also stressed that the project would create jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

It remains to be seen if the University of Iowa project will move forward, but in the meantime, higher education institutions across the nation are finding that green technologies can help save their strained budgets.
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