RSU Energy Plan to Save Money, Protect the Environment

Rogers State University has adopted an energy savings plan that will lower the university’s utility bills and protect the environment by utilizing cleaner and more efficient technology.

The comprehensive, long-term energy savings plan, approved recently by the university’s Board of Regents, features the installation of equipment to monitor overall energy usage, adoption of measures to save electricity, natural gas and water, and the conversion from outdated heating and air conditioning units to a geothermal energy system in several of the largest campus buildings.

“This energy savings plan puts RSU on the leading edge in Oklahoma and the nation in terms of conserving energy and saving money on utility bills,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. “The plan will provide a responsible, long-term energy solution for our campus and will vastly reduce the amount we spend on utilities.”

RSU selected Johnson Controls Inc. through a competitive process to implement the energy savings plan at a total cost of 5.6 million, which will be financed by the master lease-purchase program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The energy savings plan is projected to garner savings of more than $8.7 million over the next 20 years. A portion of the funds generated by the savings will be used to retrofit other campus buildings with new energy-saving technology. The energy savings plan includes all university campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor.

The centerpiece of the plan is the utilization of renewable geothermal energy to heat and cool Preparatory, Meyer and Baird Halls and Will Rogers Auditorium on the Claremore campus. Geothermal systems also will be used to treat the air in all major buildings to be constructed on the campus, including the Student Services Center and Classroom Building. A geothermal environmental climate system was installed last year in the university’s new Innovation Center.

The geothermal method derives heat by tapping into thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid of the earth’s crust, approximately 375 feet below ground. Approximately 200 wells will be drilled on the Claremore campus to tap into the underground heat source and two small pump houses will be built to channel the energy into the buildings. Construction will begin in April and is expected to continue for approximately one year.

The energy savings plan also calls for upgrading electrical lighting in all campus buildings, including the installation of new energy-efficient light bulbs, ballasts and sensors that will shut off the lights when classrooms and offices are not in use. In addition, new plumbing fixtures and valves will be installed to conserve the use of water on all campuses.