University of Findlay’s commitment to a healthy and clean environment has not gone unnoticed and the effects of the Oiler Energy Project (OEP) can be seen across campus through various renovations and additions.
Since the implementation of the OEP, Findlay has been named an AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Champion, received multiple Tree Campus USA awards, and has recently received recognition from the Nuclear Electric Power Generation Company (NRG).
The primary goal of the OEP is to make the entire campus more efficient and sustainable by reducing energy consumption, lowering costs, and limiting environmental impact. These goals are being met by converting lighting from compact fluorescent lights to LED, updating heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanical systems, and implementing new HVAC controls.
Orion Jones, director of the physical plant, explained that these updates will allow his team to directly monitor and control the energy each area on campus uses. “We will be able to study when a building uses energy, so if there is a temperature spike at 2 a.m., we will be able to see that and address that issue,” he said. “We will also have the ability to reduce our load at any given time. AEP will request for ‘load shedding’ and by clicking a button, we can reduce the amount of energy we are using. This summer, we proved that we can control almost two mega-watts.”
With all of the changes nearing completion, the University has already seen a positive impact. Jones mentioned, “the current energy reduction for this fiscal year is about 25% when factoring in weather.” But the energy efficiency isn’t stopping there! “Our next step is potentially developing a solar field in the open area behind our office house on Foulke and tying that power into the Koehler Center,” said Jones. “The more sustainable we are, the more efficient we are.”
Through a partnership with NRG, Findlay qualified for the Demand Response Program by “being a smart, responsible energy consumption user.” The University was recognized for successfully reducing the overall energy use and demonstrating the ability to control energy load throughout the year. Ten trees were planted in Colorado’s Pike National Forest this year in honor of the University’s continued commitment to protecting the environment by NRG in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation.