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CSU to save $1M annually with new energy program

Central State University will reduce its energy consumption by 41 percent under a new project expected to save the school more than $1 million annually in utilities.

The university will use $20 million in low-interest and interest-free bonds to upgrade exterior and interior lights, expand the campus boiler system, improve roofs and building envelopes and complete other projects. The funds come through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, said Daarel Burnette, CSU’s vice president for administration and chief financial officer.

The end result will reduce CSU’s electric, natural gas, water and sewer bills from about $3 million annually to $2 million.

“We’re a state institution, so this directly affects our taxpayers,” Burnette said. “That means that our dollars that we’re getting from taxpayers are being used more effectively and efficiently.”

The project will also improve the air quality, including reducing 7,864 tons of carbon dioxide, 34 tons of sulfur dioxide, 13 tons of nitrogen oxides and .27 pounds of mercury — the equivalent of removing 1,499 passenger cars from the road or powering the electricity usage of 981 homes, according to the university.

Burnette said the project is a landmark undertaking for CSU and will support one of President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond’s top priorities. Work is expected to begin in April and will be implemented by the Brewer-Garrett Company of Middleburg Heights.

“This relationship will move us closer to achieving the long-term goals outlined in our university’s ‘six compelling priorities.’ One of those is maintaining efficient and effective operations,” Jackson-Hammond said.

The project will also ensure Central State reaches the goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent established in House Bill 251. It will also provide the support that will be needed for the future 85,000-square-foot student center planned for the campus. The new student center and other campus upgrades from the project will be important in attracting students, Burnette said.

“In order to continuing attract and keep these stellar students that can deal with the rigor of higher education, we have to have a stellar infrastructure to support them,” Burnette said.

Central State is the latest university to undertaken an energy project. Wright State expects to save $35.8 million over 15 years with upgrades to its main and Lake campuses. Urbana University expects to save $2 million over 30 years by using solar panels. Cedarville University expects to begin using a 2,154 kilowatt solar array in April.

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