Keene State College plans to use an energy service contact organization (ESCO) to help achieve their sustainability goals.
Keene State will be the first college in the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) to use an ESCO. Other colleges across America and in the New England area have used ESCOs to meet their sustainability goals.
“It is new to New Hampshire, but it’s not new to the planet and it’s not even new to New England,” Vice President for Finance and Administration Susan LaPanne said.
Coordinator of Energy and Administrative Services Diana Duffy and Director of Campus Sustainability Cary Gaunt created a broad-reaching energy services contract proposal that encompassed Keene State’s sustainability goals. The college then awarded a bid to Siemens Energy Management, an international organization that provides energy and sustainability services.
“It’s a new way of tackling these challenges,” Duffy said. “It depends on what the school wants and where our needs are. Every school is different. It’s not a cookie-cutter type of service.”
“What made them (Siemens) stand out is they are extremely interested in helping us with programming here,” LaPanne said. “That means everyone is exposed to the culture of sustainability and recycling and maintaining the planet.”
Duffy provided Siemens with data about Keene’s current energy intensity and heat and water usage to allow Siemens to conduct their investment-grade audit.
“Based on the combination of what we go through and where we want to go, they help us,” Duffy said.
The investment-grade audit looked at all the buildings and grounds to determine ways to lower energy commitments.
“The roadmap is going to be the investment-grade audit,” LaPanne said.
The primary goal of this contract with Siemens is to increase energy efficiency and create behavior change programs to help Keene State reach its sustainability goals. The project will also include improvements for water conservation and waste reduction.
“It offers us the ability to work with a single company who is the premier ESCO internationally to focus us on those projects,” LaPanne said.
Siemens will provide the campus with an energy consultation and general contractor work to complete these sustainability projects.
“Siemens is not going to get stuck thinking about the things that we do because we’ve always done it that way,” LaPanne said.
Both Keene State College and the city of Keene, New Hampshire plan to have 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. By 2030 Keene State College also hopes to have reduced greenhouse gases by 50 percent and to have qualified as a zero-waste campus.
“I’m very excited about the progress. There’s still a lot more we can do and we won’t be able to achieve our goals without the help of everyone on campus,” said Eco-Reps member Lindsey Ljungberg.
Siemens is open to working with Keene State students during the ESCO process.
“Ultimately, students will be linked into different types of projects that are happening,” Duffy said.
“There’s going to be focus on training our students if they’re interested, some research grant opportunities and workforce development,” LaPanne said. “They are very happy to talk to us about internships of all varieties. So this is not just for the sustainability students.”
Kelly Regan can be contacted at