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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES STRETCH RESOURCES THROUGH EFFICIENCY EFFORTS

3/4/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

Leaders at Mississippi Public Universities are focused on providing a quality education that is accessible and affordable for students. Finding cost savings wherever possible is a key part of this effort.

Delta State University has partnered with Entergy to replace outdated light fixtures with energy-efficient LED models for all exterior lights across campus—more than 60 of them. This not only saves utility costs—of approximately 60 percent—but also provides a more secure campus. Delta State also replaced more than 600 light fixtures in its library with energy-efficient LED alternatives, a switch that additionally made the environment more student-friendly.

Recent building renovations also save Delta State money. The refurbishment of its cafeteria included the latest energy-efficient kitchen equipment and an open design that utilizes more natural light. State-of-the-art renovations to its music building included all new energy-efficient lighting and heating and cooling equipment.

Delta State is in the process of installing HVAC controls for several academic buildings that currently have none. This will conserve energy tremendously.

All these efforts helped Delta State decrease its utility cost approximately 28 percent in the past 12 months.

Delta State continues to evaluate other academic buildings to make similar improvements.

Mississippi State University’s Sustainability Policy and the MSU Climate Action Plan set the course for MSU’s efficiency efforts. These key documents lay out the parameters for success with respect to operating a more energy efficient campus as well as becoming a cleaner more environmentally friendly campus.

Efforts to improve efficiency begin with investing in the right personnel but also includes initiatives such as regular monitoring and reporting of energy consumption, conversion from old-inefficient boiler/heater technologies to new high efficiency models, upgrades and expansions of the computer based control systems, optimizing equipment/building scheduling, retrofitting from fluorescent to LED lighting technology, application of lighting control devices such as occupancy sensors, retro-commissioning of older building systems, and the addition of the MSU Ice Plant.

In addition to the upgrades to infrastructure systems, MSU has been aggressive in complying with the 30 percent better than ASHRAE 90.1 requirement of the MSU/IHL Sustainability Policies on all major renovations and new construction. Of course, the entire efficiency effort begins with a supportive administration and an engaged community. The Sustainability Committee has provided oversight and regular review of campus performance, and the administration provides the approval and funding necessary to move forward with important efficiency initiatives and projects.

Mississippi University for Women recently held a visioning exercise that included a cross section of about 50 campus representatives to have some broad discussions about the university’s financial future and to understand that the economic framework of a college or university and its financial sustainability is the culmination of decisions made about its mission, structure, strengths and resources. Participants explored questions related to the four dimensions of the economic framework, focusing on areas such as culture, policies and processes, decision making, leadership, governance, market factors, collaboration and innovation.

The Atmos Energy SmartChoice Program recently installed energy-efficient, low-flow devices across the campus of Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU). The goal is to help reduce the natural gas and water consumption of the University. New energy-saving showerheads and faucet aerators save thousands of gallons of water per year without sacrificing water pressure or performance. The equipment has a pressure compensating mechanism that provides a constant output of water pressure and helps to filter debris and build-up inside the showerhead or faucet.

MVSU and Atmos Energy are committed to working together to find other ways to reduce energy consumption throughout the campus. The Atmos Energy SmartChoice Program is dedicated to helping commercial and residential customers throughout the state to be more energy efficient and stop energy waste.

Efficiency runs throughout the University of Mississippi’s Master Plan, shaping decisions on building locations, utilities, roads, transportation, parking, cycling, and pedestrians. For example, the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence is powered by the largest rooftop-mounted solar array in Mississippi and Insight Park is equipped with solar shading and geothermal heating and cooling, as well as plug-ins for electrical vehicles.

At the University of Southern Mississippi, Century Park, the University’s newest gated residential complex, was built with the goal of being a U.S. Green Building Council Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified building. The complex features 865 beds with a learning center that includes meeting spaces and study lounges.

These efforts have paid off in millions of dollars saved.

Since 2006, Mississippi State University has pursued aggressive goals in reducing its overall energy consumption per square foot and to date has seen over $52,000,000 in avoided utility costs due to running at a historically low energy usage index. MSU is operating at over 40 percent more efficient in terms of BTU/square foot than it was some 12 years ago.

Mississippi Valley State University expects to save $17,000 per year through the Atmos Energy SmartChoice Program.

"We expect that the energy saving measures that were installed at MVSU by the Atmos Energy SmartChoice Program will save the university over 28,000 therms of natural gas per year, which is an estimated $17,000 annually," said Terrance Hurssey, MVSU’s Director of Facilities. "Also, we expect to save over 3,000,000 gallons of water per year by having this equipment installed. We are appreciative to Atmos for their help in making our campus more efficient."

In 2017, The University of Mississippi offset three percent of the institution's electricity use from the previous fiscal year by purchasing 3,835 kilowatt hours of renewable energy certificates. The purchase is estimated to be the equivalent of growing 69,848 trees per year for 10 years or not using 6,240 barrels of oil.

The Office of Sustainability's compost program has diverted more than 91,000 pounds of pre-consumer campus food waste from the landfill since its establishment in 2013.

The university system has saved $106 million through energy efficiency efforts since 2006. The savings accrued by increasing energy efficiency on campus can be redirected to enhance classroom instruction, faculty research and academic support programs. Each penny saved can be used to support this mission of providing an excellent education that is accessible and affordable for students.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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