On April 19th, Eastern Connecticut State University and their Institute for Sustainable Energy hosted the Green Campus Conference to discuss Public Act 11-80. The bill requires the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to develop a comprehensive State Energy Plan and establish a variety of new programs to promote clean energy and energy efficiency.

DEEP recently launched the Lead-By-Example (LBE) program requiring energy use in State owned and operated buildings to be reduced by 10% by January 1, 2013, and another 10% by January 1, 2018. The LBE program applies to all state agencies, including the facilities within Connecticut’s Higher Education sector, which makes up 50% of the square footage of buildings under the control of state government.  Buildings controlled by the CT Board of Regents constitute 50% of Higher Education and 25% of the Governor’s energy reduction goal.

To achieve the energy reduction targets on CT Board of Regents campuses the following seven actions have been identified:

  1. Establish an Energy and Sustainability Baseline
  2. Participate in the American College and University President’s Climate Challenge (ACUPCC)
  3. Engage Student Organizations in Support of Campus Environmental Sustainability
  4. Identify Projects for Funding through Connecticut’s Lead-by-Example Initiative
  5. Establish a Board of Regent Technical Support and Project Review Team
  6. Develop and Deploy Multiple Project Financing Strategies
  7. Provide O&M and Auditing Training to Facility Maintenance Staff

More information of the CT Board of Regents Green Campus Strategy can be found here.

The conference brought together representatives from all CT Board of Regents institutions including the four Connecticut State Universities, twelve Connecticut Community/Technical Colleges, and Charter Oak State College. More than 80 participants learned about the LBE program and how the State of Connecticut is working to support colleges and universities in achieving the energy reduction goals.

The conference offered two panel sessions:

1.     Financing Green Campus Projects: moderated by Alex Kragie, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, DEEP

Presentations included:

2.     The Latest & Greatest Energy Technology: moderated by William Leahy, Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy

 Presentations included:

  • Eastern’s Green Campus – Nancy Tinker, Director, Facilities and Management Planning
  • CCSU’s Energy Center – Robert Gagne, Plant Facility Engineer
  • Connecticut’s Demand Response, Monitoring & Analysis Program – Cliff Orvedal & Bob ManciniEnerNOC
  • CT Energy Efficiency Fund – Rich Steeves, Energy Efficiency Board, Randy Vagnini, Retrofit Programs, Dave McIntosh, Retro-commissioning

Second Nature President Dr. Tony Cortese gave the keynote address, commending the state of Connecticut and the Board of Regents for working together to address energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also reminded the crowd of the importance of higher education to lead society and prepare graduates for a changing global market economy. Issues of climate and sustainability are about much more than the environment. It is time to stop viewing global challenges as separate, competing, and hierarchical and begin to address them as systemic and interdependent. Colleges and universities can and must develop graduates that can think systemically and begin developing the solutions to transition to a just, healthy, and sustainable society.

Connecticut’s LBE program is a terrific model for other states to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also a terrific model of collaboration for state colleges and universities to work with their state government. DEEP is working on identifying best practices in energy efficiency financing and developing a vetted list of energy service companies to submit RFPs. The CT BOR is establishing a Project Technical Review team to ensure proposals submitted by individual campuses are complete, comprehensive, and fully documented. This will help streamline the decision process for DEEPs Technical Advisory Committee and Project Finance Committee. The BOR is also building the capacity of campus staffs by providing training on energy management and energy auditing. By building internal expertise campuses can operate more efficiently and will be better able to identify areas for further energy savings. For Connecticut, LBE is the key program to making it the most energy efficient state in the nation!