Image Credit: ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

Conservation, and the savings that come from it, are a way of life at ISU

Quietly, efficiently and without much fanfare, Idaho State University has engaged in a wide assortment of energy- and environmental-conservation programs on the Pocatello campus.

The result has been substantial savings in energy, water and money.

Some examples:

  • Conservation efforts at ISU save more than 3.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
  • Air-particle emissions on the main campus in Pocatello have been reduced by 99 percent.
  • Water-conservation measures save more than 27.2 million gallons of water annually.
  • Beginning with fiscal year 2007, utility cost savings have exceeded $540,000 annually.

"We are good environmental stewards within the constraints we operate under," says Syed Hashim, ISU environmental specialist for Facilities Services.

ISU achieves these conservation feats through small programs, like the Vending Miser-brand motion detectors that power-down refrigerated vending machines when no one's nearby.

The University also participates in an Energy Savings Performance Contract, a conservation-incentive program with Chevron Energy Solutions, which saves more than $500,000. Under the 16-year contract, ISU is implementing multiple energyand water-conservation measures. They include lighting upgrades, heating and cooling control modifications, a steam turbine, complete heat-plant upgrades, low-flow toilets and computerized energy management.

Additional conservation programs on the ISU Pocatello campus include:

  • Xeriscaping: Landscaping at 15 campus buildings incorporates native plants that do not need supplemental irrigation. This saves more than 2.7 million gallons per year.
  • Low-flow water devices: Low-flow faucet aerators and low-flow toilets save the University approximately 24.5 million gallons of water per year and provide annual utility-cost savings of about $79,000.
  • Vending Miser: In partnership with Idaho Power Co. under its Industrial Incentive Program, ISU installed Vending Miser-brand energysaving devices on cold-drink vending machines. That saves 165,194 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, and provides utility cost savings of $9,581.
  • Scheduling HVAC Building Controls: ISU built heating, ventilation and air-conditioning controls. HVAC systems operate fewer hours, saving 1.8 million kilowatt-hours and $68,500 annually.
  • Lighting upgrades: All campus buildings are using more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and electronic ballasts. These upgrades were performed under the Energy Savings Performance Contract with Chevron Energy and Green Lights Program. These efforts earned a lighting rebate of $24,000 from Idaho Power under its Industrial Incentive Program. These measures are estimated to save ISU nearly 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and $67,650 annually.
  • Baghouse Pollution Control: The Heat Plant prevents particulate emissions from escaping into the atmosphere by routing all emissions from a coal-fired boiler through a deviceŚcalled a baghouseŚbefore reaching the stack. The baghouse traps 99 percent of particulates. It has reduced emissions from 44,000 pounds to 880 pounds annually.
  • Recycling: ISU's recycling program kicked off in February 1990. By May that year, recycling pickup was taking place at 32 buildings on campus. The program is now carried out by ISU Recycling and S.A.V.E. (Student Action Volunteers for the Environment), which is under the ISU Students' Community Service Center. The group's advisor, Linda Burke, says ISU now recycles about 12,000 pounds of materials weekly.

A unique aspect of the ISU recycling program is that it is a joint venture with Belmont Management, a Pocatello group that provides care to persons with developmental disabilities in facility and residential settings. Belmont residents receive all revenues collected for the recyclable materials, about $12,000 to $15,000 annually, providing them with a revenue source.

Andy Taylor
ISU Magazine