KALAMAZOO—Honeywell and Western Michigan University joined forces Oct. 23 to celebrate national Campus Sustainability Day by showcasing the University's successful efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and launching a pioneering two-year research project designed to determine best practices for engaging students, faculty and staff in trimming energy consumption in buildings.
The research project, supported by Honeywell and managed by WMU doctoral student Kate Binder, will explore whether dashboards and other tools that share information and provide feedback on energy use lead to lasting and quantifiable change among occupants.
A Campus Sustainability Day news event on campus provided an opportunity to highlight energy-efficiency improvements Honeywell is currently making in more than 50 WMU facilities. The company and University have entered into an agreement to effect upgrades that are expected to trim annual energy consumption by 14,800 million British thermal units (MMBtu) and carbon emissions by 4.4 million pounds—equivalent to removing almost 390 vehicles from the road.
The University will also save nearly $250,000 in projected energy and operating costs each year, savings guaranteed by Honeywell under an energy savings performance contract.
These efforts are part of the WMU's commitment to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment and goal of reducing energy use 25 percent by 2020. WMU President John M. Dunn is a member that organization's national steering committee.
"Our commitment to sustainability has always revolved around what we can accomplish technically as well as what we can do by harnessing the power of a community made up of thoughtful individuals," says. Dunn. "The new research Honeywell is supporting will allow us to find the best way to engage members of the University community and encourage them to take full advantage of the technology so that we can further reduce our environmental footprint."
WMU has been working to address its energy consumption for decades. And in 2011, the university enlisted Honeywell to perform a campuswide audit to identify changes that could further boost efficiency. The audit uncovered opportunities to enhance lighting, heating and cooling, and automation controls in buildings, and WMU tapped Honeywell to implement the improvements.
"Western Michigan University has long stood as one of the leading higher-education institutions in promoting sustainable practices, and has made impressive inroads in reducing its overall energy consumption by using technology and engaging its campus community," says Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "We are proud to join WMU in celebrating this year’s Campus Sustainability Day."
WMU has a long heritage of sustainability and energy innovation. Since 1996, the school has decreased its overall energy use by 15 percent while the building square footage has increased 19 percent. During the past 17 years, the University has avoided or reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 280 million pounds, the equivalent of adding 3.2 million trees to the planet or removing 26,000 vehicles from the road.
Additionally, the university is home to seven Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—LEED—certified buildings, including the nation's first higher education facility to achieve a LEED for Existing Buildings Gold rating. Ten additional buildings are in the certification process.
About Campus Sustainability Day
Campus Sustainability Day is an annual event started in 2003 to celebrate sustainability in higher education. Each October, colleges and universities organize events on campus and in nearby communities to encourage students, faculty and staff from across departments to share ideas and knowledge on sustainability strategies.
For more information about the 2013 events at WMU, visit wmich.edu/news/2013/10/10070.
Honeywell is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. The company is based in Morris Township, N.J.
For more information on Honeywell's energy and facilities expertise, visit buildingsolutions.honeywell.com or follow @HoneywellBuild on Twitter.