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Weber State energy plan has carbon neutral goal

Weber State energy plan has carbon neutral goal

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- A Weber State University energy plan calls for the northern Utah schools two campuses to be carbon neutral by 2050.

"We will reduce the amount of carbon emission," said Kevin Hansen, associate vice president for Facilities Management at WSU. "Those we can't reduce, we'll find alternative methods and needs, go to more renewable sources."

Hansen said the school adopted an earth-friendly initiative in 2008 and a climate action plan in 2009.

We will reduce the amount of carbon emission. Those we can't reduce, we'll find alternative methods and needs, go to more renewable sources.

–Kevin Hansen

Some initiatives have been small, like adding bike racks, planting trees and recycling. Among the school's more ambitious plans are modernizing irrigation systems, building a new chiller system and renovating the Shepherd Union Building on the Ogden campus, he said.

New buildings construction has also been designed to reduce the university's carbon footprint, including the Hurst Center for Lifelong Learning and Elizabeth Hall. Both received LEED silver certification and meet state high-performance energy-efficiency standards. Plans for a new residential housing complex also include designs for LEED silver certification, Hansen said.

"The initial steps have been fairly easy," Hansen said. "Where we are getting now is where people will see more of an impact."

A key part of the plan is changing the lighting used in university buildings. Hansen said staff plans to assess the lighting in each room on both the Weber and Davis County campuses to decide which type of lighting works best and is most energy efficient.

The changes undertaken since 2007 have reduced the school's carbon footprint by 6,000 metric tons of CO2 each year. That's also saved the university $439,115.

Beyond the monetary savings, Hansen said the school had other reasons for going green.

"There's no doubt that man burning all these carbon-based fuels has an impact on the environment," said Hansen, adding that the move is a good example for students. "The university has a responsibility to lead in finding new ways and new opportunities to reduce that impact."


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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