Sustainability commission hosts meeting, boasts progress

Chris Wilcox
Staff writer

The Presidents Commission on Sustainability met Oct. 24 to hear a report by Facilities Management.

Facilities Management discussed preliminary plans for a second Energy Savings Company Project (ESCO).

Kim Oatman, chief facilities officer, Wayne Harper, director of grounds and building services, Josh Jacobs, chief of staff, Kathryn Timmons, professor of Health Sciences and Human Services, Michael Kemp, professor of Science, Engineering and Technology, Michael Mayes, professor of Science, Engineering and Technology, and Glenn Gowen, professor of Health Sciences and Human Services attended the meeting.

Jacobs started the meeting, in which Facilities Management addressed past, current and future programs they are working on.

“Were taking stock as to where we are as a commission,” Jacobs said. “The beauty of this program is we can discuss projects that may or may not happen.”

Oatman and Harper led the meeting.

Conversation was split between energy conservation and recycling.

Oatman said that because of the success made from the first ESCO project completed in 2006, Facilities Management was proposing a second ESCO plan.

Oatman said the first ESCO project cost nearly $6.5 million, but has yielded an access of $600,000 in annual savings.

The first ESCO project involved fluorescent lighting retrofits across campus, also included the installation of water saving devices on faucets and toilets.

“The upfront costs of these renovations are troubling, but over time there would be a definite payback,” Oatman said.

Oatman said Facilities Management currently has a number of medium to large projects underway. These projects include the renovation of Elizabeth College, the Basketball Practice Facility addition and the Paducah Regional Campus.

Oatman said the second ESCO project for fiscal years 2012-2013 was in preliminary planning phase.

That project includes integrating building controls, replacing the steam distribution system, creating lighting retrofits, adding solar energy systems and upgrading the metering of all campus buildings.

After Oatman’s presentation on sustainability, Harper addressed the specifics of recycling.

He said recycling programs began in 1991 and since, Murray State has recycled nearly 12,279.68 tons of material, saving the University around $614,000 at $50 per ton.

“With student input, these programs can be very beneficial,” Harper said. “It’s the students who will ultimately be the leaders of these types of efforts.”

Harper mentioned the Single Streamline Initiative, which bales comingled recyclable materials together and separates them at another location.

This initiative began in the summer of 2010, with select dumpsters baled.

Restroom waste and food products were kept out of the comingled materials, because they led to mold.

Due to food waste increasing significantly at the time of the Fall term, the program was put on hold.

Harper said efforts to conduct training sessions and organize a better collection system are still underway.

The last effort mentioned at the Presidents Commission on Sustainability meeting was the plan to build new sidewalks.

One sidewalk, from Five Points to the West Kentucky Expo Center, is under construction to be completed in the spring of 2012. Other sidewalk projects are under design.

The Presidents Commission on Sustainability ended with discussion of another meeting, no official date was set.

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