During the ‘Tent City’ protests, student leaders made the claim that Sean Kinghorn had created a list of energy efficiency recommendations that could trim $1,000,000 off university costs over a 10 year period – and that’s not including $600,000 that would be paid to a sustainability coordinator’s salary over that period.
Kinghorn no longer has those recommendations, though. After leaving Ohio Wesleyan, he worked at Otterbein College before moving to California so he didn’t keep most files.
Peter Schantz, director of Buildings and Grounds, helped Kinghorn develop the list and did have an old copy of it, but said he didn’t know how Kinghorn had calculated the energy savings.
Even without Kinghorn, many – but not all – of the recommendations have been enacted. The copy of the list provided shows a total savings of around $1.3 million, rather than $1.6 million.
Schantz said there are additional building improvement not on the list could lead to even more savings. In order to enact them, though, the university would need $6 million for the capital improvements.
Currently, the student housing master plan has higher priority in terms of borrowed funds, and efforts to hire an outside company to carry out improvements in exchange for the savings didn’t work.
In the interim, Buildings and Grounds is working energy improvements into recent and ongoing renovations of campus buildings, and this has allowed for significant progress in energy savings.
“We’re doing some good work in these renovations that we’re doing in S-Q (Simpson-Querrey), in Elliot, (and) in Merrick,” Schantz said. “We’ve improved the energy efficiency of those buildings tremendously by the nature of those renovations.”
Schantz said that money from these larger savings could and should fund a position, but that job would foucs on monitoring daily energy levels in each building to ensure all systems worked, rather than being a traditional sustainability coordinator.
“It’s going to require a level of care that we don’t particularly have right now,” Schantz said. “We’re going to have to monitor how the buildings are operating every day throughout the day and making adjustments…what can we do to optimize the performance.”