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Rutgers saves $41 million through environmental initiatives

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Rutgers University saves $41 million through environmental initiates.
Rutgers University saves $41 million through environmental initiates. - (NJBIZ file)

The University Facilities & Capital Planning group of Rutgers University through its participation in programs that encourage energy savings, sustainability and overall energy efficiencies has been racking up impressive savings for the university.

According to a Rutgers University news release, a report from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that since 2009, the university's environmental initiatives have resulted in savings of $41 million in operating expenses through energy conservation programs, alternative energy use, water conservation, solid waste recycling, green landscaping and the use of more efficient campus vehicles.

"In November 2009, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions and lower our carbon footprint," said Joseph Witkowski, executive director of utilities operations who coordinates these efforts for University Facilities & Capital Planning.

"Every six months we submit data to the EPA which details all of our sustainability efforts including offsetting emissions, waste reduction, recycling, and overall conservation and energy reduction," he said.

The EPA estimated in a Nov. 2013 report that the university has reduced its carbon footprint by 261,080 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent, the release said.

"Joe [Witkowski] and his group have aggressively sought partnership programs, grants and rebates to introduce many of these initiatives to our campus and to realize actual savings," said Antonio Calcado, vice president of University Facilities & Capital Planning. "As a result, we are seeing the benefits in real dollars as well as in the creation of a more sustainable campus. In a campus this size, these efforts matter."

And among the most notable grants is the N.J. Clean Energy Solar Grant for $4.94 million which covered one half the cost of the Berrue Circle solar farm, the release said. Rutgers also saved $3.42 million, or 80 percent of the cost by converting to more efficient lights in 31 of the campus buildings.

According to the release, the university also received $539,000 in N.J. Smart Start Rebates and has applied for an additional $749,000. The replacement of Energy Star rated equipment such as large air conditioner units and motors, qualifies for the rebates.

"We are very proactive in seeking out and participating in programs that provide savings incentives. For example, some of our smaller campus buildings benefited by NJ Clean Energy Direct Install, which is specifically for buildings equivalent in size to an average house," Witkowski said.

These projects seek to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy use.

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Emily Bader

Emily Bader

Emily Bader is the copy and web editor at NJBIZ. She is a Brielle, N.J. native and a Rutgers University alum. You can contact her at emilyb@njbiz.com or @emilybader on Twitter.

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