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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW projects in need of funding

University of Wisconsin System Office of Operations Review and Audit submitted a report evaluating the use of energy and energy conservation projects in the UW System, saying funds for some of the large-scale projects are running low.

Large-scale and high-cost energy conservation projects in the UW System have received no word on government-issued funding that is important to their operation, according to the UW System report.

Facility managers at UW institutions agreed there was a general lack of funds for energy conservation projects.

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David Giroux, UW System spokesperson, said the projects that are the least costly tend to be completed first as opposed to large conservation projects that do not receive enough funding and are not completed.

“The low hanging fruit has been harvested,” Giroux said as an analogy for the small-scale projects being completed first.

According to a statement from UW System, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $234 million to UW System from its total nationwide $3.2 billion in 2009.

The money allocated for next year will not be announced until the applications for the budget money have been submitted and reviewed.

Giroux said, however, the energy decrease of 5.3 percent from 2005-08 in the UW System indicates an effective use of funds the system receives for energy conservation projects.

“We’ve seen significant reductions in energy uses. We’ve done all the obvious things and now all that’s left is our big-ticket items. We’ve been very aggressive about finding funding. The funding made available in the past has been put to good use,” Giroux said.

UW-Madison received $19.7 million from the 2007-09 biennium for energy conservation improvements, according to the UW System report. UW and other colleges in the UW System will keep applying for financial resources based on need in the foreseeable future.

According to Dorothy Steele, director of UW Facilities Planning and Management, buildings on campus currently being designed and constructed are held to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

The different levels of standards LEED requires its buildings to have to be certified are sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design, according to the LEED website.

This is an example of UW “building green,” said Steele.

While the UW System has discussed the different ways buildings are being energy efficient, there was also an emphasis on fostering a conservation culture on campus, according to Faramarz Vakili, program director of Wisconsin Energy Conserve.

The WE Conserve Initiative is part of a state mandate for energy efficiency that aims to reduce UW energy output 20 percent by 2010. Vakili added the operation will most likely reach its goal.

Vakili said an integral part of energy efficiency on campus is instilling in the consciousness of the students the importance of conservation.

The UW System’s report said this can be done through education and student involvement and even through little changes such as turning off lights and avoiding adjusting thermostats.

The report cited WE Conserve as a model student organization that operates on a broad, formal level to promote energy conservation.

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