Generating electricity this way means EIU will pay about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, down from 7 cents it paid before construction of the Renewable Energy Center, and well below the 11 cents per kilowatt-hour charged to local ratepayers.
About 30 of EIU’s 35 campus buildings are heated by energy produced by the green facility that opened in October, according to project projections. The renewable energy facility cost $80 million to build.
“Operating our campus with a renewable resource allows us to show that cleaner energy options are both practical and fiscally responsible,” said EIU President Bill Perry. “This facility is a symbol of Eastern Illinois University’s commitment to our campus and environment, and demonstrates our willingness to take a progressive step toward sustainability.”
“In higher education, there’s a sense of obligation to be at the forefront of new technologies and to be in a leadership role as far as green technology goes,” said Dave Evers, a Honeywell energy services account executive who worked with EIU in developing plans for its renewable energy undertaking. “They feel the need to demonstrate that in practice. That’s why we see colleges and universities taking bold stances like this.”
Websites have cropped up in recent years encouraging prospective college students to ask questions about a university’s commitment to renewable energy, waste cleanup, and recycling before committing to the school.
One such site is Green Student U, which promotes environmentalism in higher education, and even offers a lengthy list of questions prospective students should ask campus recruiters during their campus visits.