While some universities have attempted to sell themselves to potential students with their ranking titles as best party school or most beautiful campus, George Washington University has proven its worth through its commitment to sustainability, showcasing the value in developing more energy-efficient buildings. With $5.3 million dedicated to the effort, the University will take part in a massive replacement project , transforming the out-of-date systems of the past into fixtures that will reduce energy use as well as cut costs for future years to come.
Contrived by the Innovation Task Force, a committee that explores cost-cutting and revenue-enhancing strategies across GW, the expansive project will include more adequate and less wasteful heating and cooling complexes. This will deplete the amount of carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2025, an objective written into the 2010 Climate Action Plan.
The buildings most directly affected by the reconfiguration will be the Gelman Library and Lisman Auditorium, including a 550-ton chiller located in the confines of the Gelman Library, which looks just as ancient as it works.
According to University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard, the $5.3 million will be repaid over the course of seven years, $800,000 a year to be exact. It may look like a lofty investment right now, one that seems slightly uncalled for, but the energy savings that will result from this initiative is substantial. It would be like removing a large building from GWs campus, or two large residence halls, Sherrard said.
The project is already underway with motion low-flow toilets, economically friendly power strips, motors, and even controlled air conditioning added to GW buildings as of July.
Meghan Chapple-Brown, director of the Office of Sustainability, claimed that financially, this building project will more than make up for its cost. With the initiative not qualifying for funding like other maintenance objectives, however, money will not be coming out of the annual capital and operating budget, the investment will come from elsewhere. Sherrard did not hint towards where the backing would be coming from.
As we move forward as a society, universities must stay up-to-date with new technological advances that have the potential to further their standing nationwide and perhaps even worldwide. GW is gearing up to be a force to be reckoned with, a school with the capacity to attract more students with its outstanding sustainability efforts while cutting its costs. Could this lead to the lowering of tuition as well? I wouldnt go that far, but if this new strategy to foster more energy-efficient growth does manage to cut as much spending as the University spokespeople say, then it could be a possibility.