Mississippi universities eye energy savings to close budget gap

State university systems are trying just about everything possible to make ends meet these days… from raising tuition and fees to selling bottled water. Mississippi’s College Board would like to avoid socking it to students, so in order to make up for a 20% drop in state appropriations, the board is taking a look at energy savings.

On Monday, an ad hoc tasks force on efficiencies decided to move forward with a proposal to cut energy consumption by 30% by 2015. Spread over the state’s eight public universities, energy efficiency at this level could create tremendous cost savings: building improvements alone could cut $6.2 million a year in energy spending. And there are already precedents in the state for saving money through energy use: the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson saved nearly $1.3 million dollars simply by shutting most buildings down during Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

No doubt, there will be some up-front costs on some energy savings measures… but, at this level, some of the simplest energy savings practices — adjusting thermostats, turning off lights and computers, addressing standby power use — could reap substantial savings… and keep college costs within reach for the state’s students.

Got ideas for how Mississippi — and other state university systems dealing with budget woes — can use energy efficiency to close funding gaps? Know of other programs already working? Share them with us…

via the Jackson Clarion-Ledger


Image credit: Southern Foodways Alliance at Flickr under a Creative Commons license