Each year, the Efficiency Advisory Committee (composed of members from each public institution of higher education in Ohio) compiles an annual report, highlighting the progress made in efficiency and revenue-saving throughout the year. This report is available to the public and puts a particular emphasis on areas where there is a cost saving or cost avoidance to students. This year, the University of Toledo was recognized in a variety of categories involving efforts to make our campus a more efficient environment. SEED was directly mentioned in the Energy Efficiency category. The energy efficiency elements highlighted in the report are defined as “seeking and refining sustainable energy methods utilized by institutions to procure and use energy in the most cost-effective manner.” In 2015 alone, public universities in Ohio reported that more energy efficient changes saved them almost $80 million dollars. This huge monetary amount is a telling indicator of exactly how much impact a focus on sustainability can mean for the modern institution of higher education.
SEED’s efforts to improve energy efficiency have played a large part in reducing operating costs for the University. The Efficiency Advisory Committee’s recognition further solidifies the impact that offices like these have on making their respective universities relevant and up-to-date in terms of sustainability. SEED was specifically recognized for its “efforts to improve energy performance,” which has led to “far lower energy use per square feet than comparable universities in terms of climate and student population.” It went on to recognize that the reductions “amounted to $2.8 million dollars in cost savings per year in utilities for the University.”
Although the stated “efforts to improve energy performance” is vague, the University is actually making sweeping changes to attempt to operate on a greener scale. Initiatives involving renewable energy, increased cognizance in building and design, and sustainability-based purchasing all play a significant part in this cost and carbon footprint reduction at UT. Engaging students in these projects and in the idea of sustainability and pushing them to evaluate the “green-ness” of their choices can encourage them to lead a more environmentally-conscious life, even after their time at the University has ended.
Additionally, the University was also recognized for excellence in Fleet Management and Operations Efficiencies (for downsizing the number of vehicles it utilizes), as well as for excellence in Public Works Efficiencies for its internal recycling program’s partnership with Toledo Public Schools, another SEED project. The recycling program, which is staffed by students, has expanded its reach to the community- saving TPS an estimated $40,000 per year. As a university located within the heart of an urban community, this mutually beneficial relationship further strengthens the partnership between UT and the surrounding areas.
Congratulations to each group and initiative recognized in the 2015 Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report. By contributing to the efficiency and sustainability of the University of Toledo, these projects are creating a culture of learning and progress for students, staff, and future generations. To view the entire Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report click here.
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email SEED@utoledo.edu or give us a call at (419) 530-1042.
Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk