The staff of Buildings and Grounds manages university facilities, and working to integrate sustainability practices into energy use and renovation has been one of Director Peter Schantz’s initiatives.
Schantz was previously Director of the Physical Plant at the College of Wooster, where a company perform a large-scale energy overhaul to their buildings, similar to the one discussed below. The company also built the largest rooftop solar array at an U.S. college campus.
“It opened my eyes tremendously to the potential that a place like this has to save energy – it’s huge,” he said. “I believe that the climate change issues are pressing and very real, and I think it’s vital that we do something about that.”
Schantz takes conservation personally – his vehicle runs off bio-diesel fuel using Chartwells’ french fry oil, said Gene Castelli, Chartwells dining services manager.
Schantz worked closely with former sustainability coordinator Sean Kinghorn. A $375,000 grant that funded Kinghorn’s position also provided for a campus energy audit, and they both worked to develop options for energy efficiency.
Kinghorn developed lighting and lighting control projects included the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center, Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, Beeghly Library and several dormitories.
Schantz and Kinghorn aimed to get students, faculty and staff involved in energy-saving solutions with improved use of lights and computers and chargers plugged into wall outlets.
The university also used geothermal wells to heat the Meek Aquatic Center as part of energy improvements funded in part by federal grant money.
Kinghorn and Schantz looked at contracting an engineering firm to carry out energy efficiency improvements early on, after they provided a list of potential improvements. But it didn’t work out – the company, based out of Texas, would have only made two or three improvements, Schantz said, and he didn’t think it was a good investment. Read more about these larger improvements here.
The Sustainability Task Force, a body of staff focused on green programs, requested the study to help determine whether OWU should sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
Buildings and Grounds was involved in the currently inactive May Move Out program, and may help re-activate the program to benefit the Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County.