Local/Regional News
1:51 pm
Thu December 2, 2010

UK Launches Energy Savings Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It takes a lot of energy to run the dozens of buildings on the University of Kentucky campus, but school officials hope to reduce that amount through a new energy-savings program. UK's Vice-President for Facilities Management Bob Wiseman says 61 buildings will soon have new lighting, plumbing, and insulation.

"If you just divide our total annual utility bill by 365, we spend $143,000 a day. So if we can shave that five percent or six percent, those savings really add up."

The cost of the project is 25 million dollars, paid for with university-issued bonds. Wiseman says UK can easily cover the debt service with what is saved each year on electricity bills.

"As utility rates rise over the next 12 to 13 years, this will save or avoid real hard costs going forward. So the dollars will accumulate each year going forward."

Wiseman says UK still plans to use coal as its source for electricity, but says making building improvements and modifying student and faculty behavior can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Also announced Thursday was the university's plan to shut down a few days early for winter break this year. Most campus offices will be closed beginning Dec. 21.

"We decided to move down this path because of the energy savings it creates, and partly too because we haven't been able to give raises the past three years. And we've tried to find some way to add some extra benefits to the people who've worked here so hard, deserve so much more than we've been able to provide," says UK President Lee Todd.

Click here for more information detailing the timeline for the energy upgrades on campus.