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APSU invests stimulus funds toward energy-saving projects, improvements

In the last couple of years, Austin Peay State University has focused on water and energy conservation projects that so far have produced $1.4 million in energy savings, thanks largely to federal funding.

And that’s not the full savings impact APSU will see.

“It’s not really the end of it,” Mitch Robinson, vice president of finance and administration at APSU, said. “It’s a recurring amount that we will see years down the road.”

In the last couple of years, Austin Peay State University has focused on water and energy conservation projects that so far have produced $1.4 million in energy savings, thanks largely to federal funding.

And that’s not the full savings impact APSU will see.

“It’s not really the end of it,” Mitch Robinson, vice president of finance and administration at APSU, said. “It’s a recurring amount that we will see years down the road.”

Robinson said the University devoted $12 million in federal stimulus money awarded in 2009 under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) toward replacement of various pumps with more efficient motors, heating and air unit upgrades and other energy-saving improvements.

The ARRA provided funding to colleges and universities across the country to use as they see fit. Some institutions chose to spend their stimulus packages on capital projects, faculty development and other endeavors – many of which would require additional financing.

However, APSU officials strategically decided to invest the majority of the stimulus funding into green initiatives. Those measures have yielded – and will continue to do so – dividends in energy savings that will be reinvested into core structural areas of campus.

“Through use of the federal stimulus dollars, APSU did not have to finance the energy-saving improvements,” he said. “We’ve taken these monies and wisely invested them into utility-savings projects from now until the future to use for other structural improvements.”

In fact, Al Westerman, director of facilities planning and projects, said University’s Sustainable Fee Committee is planning a number of other green efforts based on the savings. This includes a water recycling project for APSU’s cattle feed barn, and as part of the farm upgrade project, about $80,000 of sustainability upgrades is being devoted to the new structure.  

“As we go forward with each of our new building projects, we include sustainable items in each as a part of our standard design plans,” he said. -- Melony Shemberger