West Virginia University will make a major, multiyear investment in energy conservation and reduction of utility costs.

The WVU Board of Governors (BOG) voted Friday (Dec. 14) to approve a $12.5 million plan of capital improvements designed to significantly reduce the amount of energy and water consumed at three of the Universitys campuses.

Phase two of the energy savings performance contract, implemented by Siemens Building Technologies, will invest in energy improvements and equipment retrofitting resulting in millions in guaranteed energy savings over a minimum 15-year period.

Under the plan, approximately $7 million will be invested at WVU s Evansdale Campus in Morgantown, $3.3 million at the WVU at Parkersburg and $2.2 million at the WVU Institute of Technology in Montgomery.

This project is a great step forward in continuing the upgrade of our facilities without a incurring an impact on the Universitys operating budgets,said Stephen P. Goodwin, board chair.The initial savings in energy costs will be put towards paying back the project. But the long-term effect will be cost savings that extend far beyond the life of the contract.

Under the agreement approved by the BOG , Siemens will install energy saving lighting, building automation controls and programming, chillers, steam traps, process water conversion and side-stream filtration, weatherization and other energy and water savings improvements to WVU s buildings.

Changes at many of the buildings include: replacing thousands of traditional fluorescent light bulbs with newer energy efficient bulbs that use less energy and produce more light; installing low flow toilets, urinals and shower heads to reduce water usage; installation of computer controlled monitoring systems that can more effectively control temperatures by utilizing outside/fresh air for heating and cooling; and updating motors on fans, blowers and air handlers with variable speed that can reduce speed and energy usage when full speed is not needed.

More major improvements include the installation of chiller units in several buildings that will replace less efficient natural gas absorbers, replacing old boiler units with more energy efficient units and improving power factor capacitance to reduce the amount of power the University needs to purchase.

Savings over the next 15 years are expected to be $1.48 million annually. At the end of the contract, annual savings will exceed $1.8 million.