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MSU More Efficient, Says Smart, But Still Work to be Done

Solar Energy
Credit dirvish, Flickr

Efforts to make a business more efficient to keep pace with the changing times and climate is nothing new. At Missouri State University, officials say the recent addition of a chilled water loop is one example, helping save on air conditioning costs. But its reliance on coal has many asking what other sources can be used instead.

In December, students urged the Board of Governors to focus on wind, solar and geothermal technology to derive 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. So is that possible?

“Not unless City Utilities were to change the mix of energy such that they only purchased or generated renewable energies,” said MSU President Clif Smart, speaking with KSMU for January’s Engaging the Community. “So if we are going to continue to be a customer of City Utilities, it’s not possible, at least in the foreseeable future.”

But progress has and will continue to be made, Smart says, noting the institution’s rise from a below average to above average campus in terms of efficiency.

“We’ve gone from being City Utilities’ number one customer to being their fifth customer by reducing our demand, even though we have more buildings to light, and heat and cool. So we’ve done a good job on that but I believe there’s more to be done. I think we can make progress on how we construct buildings, or how we renovate buildings so that they’re more efficient in the future,” Smart said.

The President adds that by advocating for change toward more renewable sources, additional progress can be made.

Smart says among the student proposals being considered is an energy efficient audit, a revolving loan fund to help pay for said initiatives, plus the establishment of a sustainability committee.

For KSMU News, I’m Scott Harvey.