UConn unveils energy efficiency work with Eversource

Governor Dannel Malloy visited UConn's Gampel Pavilion on Tuesday to unveil the arena's new energy-saving LED lighting system. The lighting system was made possible by collaboration with Eversource. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Governor Dannel Malloy visited UConn’s Gampel Pavilion on Tuesday to assist with the school’s unveiling of Gampel’s new energy-saving LED lighting system, made possible by their collaboration and energy efficiency work with Eversource.

The new LED lighting system is 75% more efficient than the previous system, according to UConn’s Director of Environmental Policy, Rich Miller. The new lights last 10 years, so they reduce labor and maintenance costs by 80% when compared to Gampel’s previous lighting system.

In addition to reducing UConn’s carbon footprint, Eversource has estimated that these efforts will result in the school saving approximately 9.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and $1.5 million in energy cost savings, as well as CO2 reductions of more than 4,400 tons- the equivalent of nearly 1,100 cars off the road for a year.

“It’s a phenomenal success story that’s saving us significant energy costs, while also reducing our carbon footprint,” Miller said.

The Gampel project is one of many improvements at UConn as part of its long-term energy management strategy with Eversource, according to a press release. The long-term plan takes a comprehensive, cost-effective approach to energy management at all of UConn’s campuses and allows the university to better forecast its budget for future improvement projects.

The plan began in 2014 with UConn and Eversource collaborating on several studies to determine where there were opportunities for energy-saving upgrades. In addition to the Gampel project, UConn will complete nearly 80 projects with Eversource by the end of October 2017, including lighting upgrades in academic buildings and cooling upgrades in labs.

“As UConn continues to grow, so do its energy needs,” said Jim Hunt, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Chief Communications Officer at Eversource. “We are a proud UConn partner and look forward to continuing to help them grow efficiently, be more sustainable and effectively manage energy costs.”

Mary Sotos, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Deputy Commissioner for Energy, said that UConn and Eversource’s collaboration is important and is making a real difference in Connecticut.

“At DEEP, we are glad to be celebrating with you as UConn shapes the Storrs campus to deliver cost savings and contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment. UConn is not only a national leader in academics, research, and sports, but it leads in promoting environmental sustainability practices as well,” Sotos said.

UConn has been ranked by environmental organizations like the Sierra Club among the top 10 green campuses in the nation and around the globe for five consecutive years.

“The work we are recognizing today will not only deliver year-after-year energy and cost savings to the university, it will also help us continue our mission to be a carbon neutral campus by 2050,” Miller said.

Miles Gibbs, Senior mechanical engineering and German studies major and chairperson of USG’s Sustainability Subcommittee said he was glad the event helped draw attention to UConn’s sustainability efforts.

“We formed the (sustainability) subcommittee this year to start bringing people together to form strategic partnerships to work on sustainability issues,” Gibbs said. “We think this is a great event to make those connections with companies like Eversource and make our message known to people here on campus,” he said.

Matthew McCann Senior mechanical engineering major and intern in UConn’s Office of Environmental Policy said that he was excited to see Governor Malloy draw attention to sustainability issues.

“What excites me about this is that the governor is really recognizing the importance of energy efficiency, from both an environmental and economic standpoint. It’s exciting to see people bringing attention to UConn and the good things we’re doing for the environment,” McCann said.

Additional Gampel improvements include the installation of variable-frequency drivers (VFDs) to regulate air handlers and the replacement of the original chillers and cooling towers with modern equipment for more efficient heating and cooling. Gampel is expected to save $100,000 a year in energy costs, according to the press release.

In addition to electric efficiency projects, there’s been several natural gas efficiency projects completed at UConn’s Storrs campus, resulting in an additional 2,700 tons of avoided carbon emissions.

Future UConn and Eversource plans may include dorm, ice rink and greenhouse upgrades, as well as projects at Avery Point, UConn Health, and Law School, the press release said.

The energy efficiency tour was held during the EcoHusky Student Group’s Earth Day Spring Fling, an annual celebration of sustainability featuring student groups, organic and local food and eco-friendly vendors.


Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.