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Ohio Campuses Can Save Green by Going Green

January 29, 2007

Ohio campuses can save cash by going "green," as well as helping to keep tuition bills under control. According to a new report on the topic, state universities and colleges have an opportunity to save money through greater energy efficiency.

Wendy Patton with Ohio Apollo says there are more than 2,000 campus buildings in the state and, with many reaching "middle age," this is a good time for an energy-efficiency makeover.

"They can replace inefficient appliances and upgrade inefficient buildings, and build all new buildings to high performance and energy-efficient standards. They also need to move to clean power from renewable resources."

Campuses have an advantage because at least some of their students generally live onsite. They can encourage walking to classes, provide more alternatives to cars, and encourage students and staff to conserve energy. Purchasing decisions, for things like compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be scrutinized for the most long-lasting, energy-efficient products.

A few colleges have even managed to make money with innovative energy plans, such as switching from coal to biomass fuels, and then selling their energy credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange. With energy costs unlikely to fall any time soon, Patton says any investment now will surely pay off down the road.

"There's a great opportunity to get savings now through energy efficiency and, over the long term, this improves the environment and reduces costs -- to both the students and to the state budget."

The report is online at: www.policymattersohio.org/apollo/NewEnergyCampuses2007.htm.

Rob Ferrett/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - OH