The University of Michigan announced a new $5 million investment in multiple energy conservation projects Wednesday as part of the University’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The announced renovations will be implemented in buildings across the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses as well as Michigan Medicine.
The energy conservation measures are intended to help the University achieve carbon neutrality, which would mean the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the University would equal the emissions that are offset or taken out of the atmosphere.
The University is aiming to eliminate scope 1 emissions which are emissions that come from the University’s own activities (such as central power generation or bus service), by 2040 and achieve net-zero emissions from scope 2 from purchased power by 2025. Electricity powering the campus falls under both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions since the University produces energy from its Central Power Plant and purchases electricity from utilities such as DTE.
LED lighting fixtures will replace currently prevalent fluorescent lights, which consume more electricity. These upgrades would make renovated buildings, including those whose lights are required to stay on at all times, more energy-efficient and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by powering the campus.
In an email to The Michigan Daily, Sustainability Communications Manager Adam Fisher said the conservation projects will start soon and staff will work to minimize the disruptions to building occupants.
“Disruptions will be minimal relative to typical building renovations,” Fisher said. “U-M Facilities & Operations staff will work closely with building managers to enter spaces when they are not occupied to the extent feasible and to minimize disruptions generally.”
The $5 million in funding for these projects has been provided as a revolving energy fund, which serves as a source for loans to different departments and units at the University. These units will repay the loan using the cost savings from their more efficient buildings.
As part of the University’s initial carbon neutrality announcement, University President Mark Schlissel announced a $25 million revolving energy fund to support energy conservation measures. The $5 million announced on Wednesday comes from this larger fund, and the University will disburse the full fund in the 2022-2023 school year.
In a press release, Schlissel said the revolving energy fund would serve as “a sustainable financing system” to support energy projects and help carry out the University’s carbon neutrality goals.
“Sustained innovation is crucial in the fight against climate change, and I applaud the university units who are taking action to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions,” Schlissel said.
Daily staff reporter Arjun Thakkar can be reached at email@example.com.