The University Record, October 29, 1996

DOE recognizes U-M for energy conservation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has named the University as the recipient of one of six National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Awards.

The U-M was recognized for its Revolving Energy Conservation Project Account, an innovative funding mechanism that has been used since 1987 to pay for making energy conservation improvements in University buildings, says William N. Verge, manager of utility systems.

"The account supports energy-saving projects that pay for themselves within five years or less from the energy savings they create," explains Verge. "At the end of each fiscal year, the account is reimbursed with a portion of the utility costs that have been saved from supported projects, thus making the fund self-sustaining."

Verge says the fund has supported 79 projects to date. Energy savings from projects through June 1996 are valued at more than $8 million. In addition, the net savings grow each year as new projects are added and older projects continue to produce savings.

"Reducing energy consumption is an important national priority," says Paul A. Spradlin, interim associate vice president for business operations. "The energy conservation efforts at the University of Michigan are good for the environment and good for business."

In celebration of Energy Awareness Month, the DOE award winners were recognized at a ceremony in Washington. The U-M project was named this year's top project in the Building Technology category.

Projects were evaluated on the basis of program effectiveness, natural resource conservation, economic progress and energy education and awareness.