“Being an eco-friendly campus has developed from a mere afterthought to a very important aspect in recruiting students,” said a recent blog post on Green Student U. “The leaders of tomorrow have realized they’re inheriting a world that needs a major facelift in the environmental department.”
Environmental projects come in much smaller forms than EIU’s Renewable Energy Center. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW), for example, undertook a series of green measures in 2011 that will save the school more than $600,000 a year on energy costs, and more than $30 million over the next two decades.
UW’s Milwaukee campus will save on energy with more efficient plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, and occupancy sensors designed to limit energy usage when a classroom or computer lab is empty.
The university also will update its building controls and HVAC system for long-term savings.
UW Milwaukee has touted the energy savings of its latest green initiatives: the updates will decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by an anticipated 31 million pounds, or the equivalent to removing more than 2,700 cars from the road, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
And reducing energy use by about 10 million kilowatt-hours annually is enough to power 940 U.S. homes for a year, according to the university.
“The question always comes down to financials,” Anson from Honeywell said. “Many times, [green] projects don’t come together not because schools don’t want to do it, but because the money part doesn’t work. With [budgets issues] the way they are in higher education, these projects have to save schools a lot of money before they commit.”