University accepts Better Building Challenge, $1.7 million
Towson University announced that it would accept the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge and received $1.7 million in incentives from Baltimore Gas and Electric on April 17 on the lawn in West Village.
By accepting the Better Building Challenge, the University pledged to reduce the energy consumption of its on-campus buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency from the DOE Kathleen Hogan, a speaker at the event, congratulated Towson for being the first university in Maryland to publicly accept the challenge.
The $1.7 million in incentives from BGE were given as a rebate for the $7 million the University spent on new appliances through BGE’s program, according to the company’s newsletter.
William Wolf, Jr., manager of I&C Conservation Programs for BGE, said the University used the funds to replace 80 percent of the lighting fixtures in the buildings on campus with more efficient LED lights and upgraded the lighting controllers.
“After all of this, Towson is probably saving more than a million dollars on energy bills and 8.2 million kilowatt hours a year,” he said.
The CEO of BGE Calvin Butler Jr. also spoke at the event and commended the University for being part of the program.
“This puts Towson in a category of its own in energy efficiency,” he said.
The president of the student group Students-4-Sustainability Daniela Beall also attended the event. Although she said that her group was not involved with the event, she said it was good that Towson receive some recognition.
“Better and more efficient lighting improves students psychological well-being and makes them feel good,” she said. “Reducing our energy wage also supports the healthy things we want to do on campus.”
Ruth Kiselewich, the director of Demand Side Management Programs at BGE, said small events like these have an impact on students and help remind them of things they can do for their environment.
“The idea is you become aware of energy efficiency and how it’s important in everything you do,” she said. “When these things happen, suddenly students remember to turn the lights off in their dorm rooms when the leave.”