Utah Valley University’s school color is green, which is appropriate when looking at the school’s continued efforts in being an energy-efficient campus. So far, UVU has saved approximately $1.2 million in the past three years due to consolidation efforts and improving power utilization.
“We have a rich heritage at our institution for being green from the day it was founded in the mid ’70s,” said Denny Rucker, project director of engineering at UVU. “Until recently, green and conservation were not popular issues and didn’t draw much interest, but it has always been a top priority at this institution.”
UVU began its quest to be environmentally friendly when it added a geothermal well in 1975, the first one in Utah. Geothermal wells are used to transfer heat in and out of buildings through aquifers. Today, UVU continues to add unique features on campus, such as light-level sensors in hallways to conserve power, as well as a computerized host system that monitors the entire campus. All of the buildings on the main campus benefit from the lighting, controls and new equipment.
“Every remodeling or construction project is conservative in usage of utilities, waste and materials,” Rucker said. “Becoming more green is a hard step when you are already far up the ladder to green.”
Although UVU is already high up on the ladder in its conservation methods, it still looks for opportunities to optimize and improve. For example, a new UVU Sustainability Committee was formed and recently held its first meeting. The committee’s current goal is to focus their limited resources to the areas that need immediate attention on campus. They are planning to have all future buildings that are added on campus be mandated “green” to follow suit with the rest of the buildings.
“It is not logical to waste or throw away anything that is useful as long as it can be used in a practical manner,” Rucker said. “This institution has always had that philosophy at its core and we have always been a shade of green. Management and facilities are committed to the most economical and practical operations that we can provide.”