LEXINGTON, Ky. - Slowly but surely, the University of Kentucky has been chipping away at its utility bills. After two years of concerted efforts to conserve, the payoff came today as Kentucky Utilities Company presented the university with a commercial rebate check of more than $1 - million.
Retrofitting new, energy-efficient replacement parts to the infrastructure of many of the aging buildings on campus has made the difference, a million-dollar difference. UK received the rebates through the Commercial Rebate Program offered by KU and Louisville Gas and Electric Company, which gives qualified commercial customers cash incentives to replace aging, less efficient equipment.
“These are ongoing savings due to our conservation program with KU,” said Bob Wiseman, executive vice president for Facilities Management. The savings continue to mount for the university, and we are very pleased with the results.”
More than three years ago, UK embarked on an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce its energy usage. On December 1st, 2009, the Board of Trustees approved the initiation of an energy savings performance contract with Ameresco, an energy service company based in Louisville, Kentucky.
An energy service company (ESCO), such as Ameresco, provides comprehensive energy and water management analysis plans as well as energy and water-related capital improvement services. The project upgraded the infrastructure of 61 campus buildings, guaranteeing each year a savings of more than $2.4 - million, nearly 14 - million kilowatt hours and more than 37 - million gallons of water.
“The university’s energy savings associated with this rebate equates to a reduction of about 10 megawatts of electric demand. To put that into perspective, 10 megawatts supplies enough energy to power about 2,200 typical residential homes at the peak period when electricity is being used most,” said David Huff, director of Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid Strategy with KU/LG&E. “Customer participation in energy efficiency programs offsets part of our customers’ growing energy demand, which can help delay the need for constructing additional electric generating facilities.”
Schools across the Commonwealth, including the University of Louisville who earned a $373,000 rebate in 2010 and Eastern Kentucky University who received $303,000 in 2011, have participated in the utilities’ rebate program. In total, Kentucky public and private schools from early childhood to higher education have earned more than $2.7 - million in rebates.
The LG&E and KU Commercial Rebate Program was approved in 2008 to encourage qualified commercial customers to replace inefficient equipment with high-efficiency lighting, motors, pumps and air conditioning equipment, as well as customized facility improvements that reduce at least one kilowatt of peak energy usage. The program is funded through 2018 and is offered to KU and LG&E commercial customers who contribute to the Demand Side Management program as part of their monthly bills.