Regents approve final part of UNMC energy savings plan

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | December 09, 2011

UNMC's goal to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent in five years -- which could save the medical center millions of dollars annually -- is well within reach thanks to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents' approval of two initiatives on Thursday.

The approved initiatives -- one a project plan to improve the energy infrastructure in several campus buildings and the second a funding proposal to pay for the project -- will let UNMC fully implement its energy saving plan, said Ken Hansen, assistant vice chancellor for business and finance.

"Once these improvements to the energy infrastructure are complete, our plan will be fully operational and we will be on our way toward our campus energy consumption goals," Hansen said.

Systems upgrades coming

The project plan approved Thursday by the regents will allow UNMC to improve energy management systems in:

  • The Durham Research Centers;
  • Eppley Science Hall;
  • The Lied Transplant Center; and
  • Medical Science Building.

Support sought from state energy office

To fund the project, UNMC will look to the Nebraska State Energy Office using the Dollar and Savings Loan Program.

Through the program, the energy office would provide UNMC 75 percent of the funds -- about $4.5 million -- needed for the $6 million upgrades while Metro Federal Credit Union would agree to provide the remainder of the money.

"The savings from these upgrades is estimated at $1.2 million annually," Hansen said. "So in five years, we would cover the $6 million cost to make the upgrades."

Goals now attainable

These upgrades combined with earlier work in the campus utilities plants and other buildings will let UNMC drastically reduce energy consumption, Hansen said.

"We've made great headway since we instituted our strategic energy plan in 2008 and we now will be able to complete the groundwork needed to reach our goals," Hansen said.

Increased urgency

This is particularly important, he said, as energy prices continue to rise.

"It not only makes environmental sense to reduce energy consumption, it also makes financial sense," Hansen said.

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