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Miami meets 'green' goal

By Doug Miller
On February 4, 2013

Miami University's goal of reducing its energy use by 20 percent by 2014 is right on schedule, after Ohio legislature passed House Bill 251 in 2004 requesting that both public and private universities in Ohio reduce their energy use.

Since the bill was passed, Miami has been working with constructing new buildings and keeping older buildings up to code.

This year, Miami's energy consumption is $23.4 million or one trillion btus (a btu is an energy unit equivalent to one lit match) as opposed to $29 million in 2004.

In 2004, Ohio governor Bob Taft helped push several energy conservation bills through legislature, including House Bill 251. Since then, however, Ohio has passed fewer bills regarding energy conservation.

According to energy management engineer Anthony Ferraro, the government has rarely requested any information or data on Miami's progress.

According to Ferraro, House Bill 251 was not binding, meaning Miami would not have been punished had it not reduced its energy use by 2014.

Yvette Kline, director of sustainability and energy conservation, said Miami has been using a system called LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, to measure how energy efficient new buildings will be.

"All new buildings must have a LEED silver rating in order for us to accomplish our goals," Kline said.

The new Armstrong Student Center (ASC), for example, will use 35 percent less energy than the Shriver Center, and the new residence halls on Western campus are expected to have similar results.

Miami has managed to meet its goals of energy consumption through the first two quarters of the current year.

In addition to new buildings, older buildings on campus, such as Elliot and Stoddard residence halls, have been renovated and changed to comply with Miami's goal.

David Prytherch, associate professor of geography sustainability coordinator, has been heavily involved with most of the energy decisions since House Bill 251's passing. As a member of the sustainability committee, Prytherch works with others in determining how to make buildings more energy efficient.

According to Prytherch, Miami has gone above and beyond the bill's requirements in setting its own goals.

For example, Prytherch said in 2011, Elliot and Stoddard residence halls were switched from coal-fired steam heat to geothermal heating and cooling.

"Both residence halls have shown a 61 percent decrease in energy consumption compared to 2010," Prytherch said.

Miami also encourages students to turn off lights and equipment whenever possible and to conserve water using their "Energy Reduction," posters, according to Kline.

Sophomore Andrew Dalton said he is surprised by the university's progress.

"I remember seeing information like that last year, I just didn't realize how well the school's actually doing," Dalton said.

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