WMU News

WMU gets $340,000 in energy grants

May 22, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University this year has received grants totaling $340,138 from the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services for studies and projects to reduce energy costs in campus buildings. They were the latest in a series of grants WMU has received for this purpose since 1985.

"These projects will pay for themselves in less than three years," said Kathleen Wilbur, director of the department. "In addition to about $170,000 in energy costs saved yearly, the energy conservation projects will significantly reduce air pollution."

The funds, provided by the federal government, are matched by WMU so that the total budget for the projects is more than $680,000. Any savings from these initiatives are put back into other energy conservation efforts.

"This is one of the wisest investments that the federal government and WMU can make," said WMU President Diether H. Haenicke, who received a ceremonial check from Wilbur at a luncheon May 21 on campus. "We very much appreciate the support and assistance of Ms. Wilbur and her department. We are proud to be a part of this special effort at the good stewardship of our resources."

The projects include replacing electric motors with more efficient ones, installing electronic energy management systems and changing lighting systems in the Faunce Student Services Building, Miller Auditorium and Sangren Hall. The funds also cover technical audits to find chances for future savings.

In addition to these projects, WMU also has replaced lighting systems in three other buildings -- Everett Tower, the Fetzer Center and Rood Hall. It also has installed electronic energy management systems in seven other buildings. The projects at WMU are administered by Carl A. Newton, energy manager in the physical plant.

Since 1980, $47.8 million in energy grants has been awarded to Michigan public and private nonprofit schools and hospitals. These have resulted in savings estimated at $161.7 million. So far, 139 hospitals, 51 colleges and universities and 476 public school districts and private nonprofit K-12 schools have received grants to reduce energy costs in buildings.

The energy program is administered by the Energy Resources Division in the Department of Consumer and Industry Services. More information is available from Tim Shireman at 517 334-6604.

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