Systems upgrades on campus buildings will save energy, reduce emissions

It sounds like a fairytale: a plan to reduce carbon emissions, save money and improve Brandeis, all at the same time. Yet that’s exactly what the Brandeis Sustainable Energy Program seeks to do.

Over the next 16 months, several campus projects aimed at reducing energy costs and addressing deferred maintenance issues by investing in campus infrastructure upgrades will be launched. The Brandeis Sustainable Energy Program will fund three types of projects in the near-term:

  • Lighting retrofits to increase efficiency and install longer-lived components
  • Replacement of aging heating and cooling systems in select buildings
  • Increasing efficiency of all energy-related systems in targeted campus buildings

Cumulatively, these steps are expected to improve the quality of life and working conditions at the university and reduce utility costs about $540,000 in the first year, with additional annual savings thereafter, according to Sustainability Coordinator Janna Cohen-Rosenthal '03. In the process, Brandeis will reduce carbon emissions by 1,614 metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCO2e) each year — equal to taking 316 cars off the road, she added.

Brandeis is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to reduce the campus’ carbon emissions engage the community in sustainability education and actions. “The Brandeis Sustainable Energy Program helps Brandeis achieve our environmental commitments and reinforces our support for social justice around the world,” said President Fred Lawrence.

The Brandeis Board of Trustees has committed $5 million to the upgrade effort. “This program is sustainable financially, socially and environmentally,” said Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins. “The bottom line is that this investment in energy efficiency and sustainability supports a better campus.”

Initial buildings selected for upgrades include the Volen National Center for Complex Systems, Kosow-Wolfson, Sachar International Center, Slosberg Music Building, Sherman Student Center/Hassenfeld Conference Center, Kutz Hall and the Wien Faculty Center. Additional work will be completed campus-wide. The initial buildings were selected because work in each would produce demonstrable energy savings and their mechanical equipment is no longer reliable, Collins said. Work will begin in the next few weeks.

“This program expects to create a healthier, more productive working, learning, and living environment,” said Cohen-Rosenthal. “That — coupled with fiscal and environmental sustainability — is our vision for the future.”

As part of the Campus Sustainability Initiative, community members are encouraged to reduce their own energy consumption by turning off computers, controlling heating, and participating in the many sustainability programs offered by the university.

Brandeis’ Sustainable Energy Program is being designed and managed by the facilities services department with support from GreenerU Inc., an energy and sustainability services company located in Waltham. For more information on the project, students, faculty and staff may visit www.brandeis.edu/campussustainability.   

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