CWU needs to incorporate renewable energy in projects

To the Editor:

“CWU receives $32 million in capitol budget for new health sciences building” This is the headline from our local paper, the Daily Record, in May of this year.

The article in the Daily Record goes on to inform us that Central Washington University received funding for several budget requests in the Washington state Legislature’s approved capital budget, including $32 million to complete a new health sciences building. That $32 million should include a requirement for the installation of renewable energy, whether in the form of solar panels or wind turbines.

The Sciences II Building, recently completed also with state monies, had no renewable energy systems installed.

Around the country, other universities are installing renewable energy systems.

Northwestern University began installing solar power in 2011, with a student-led initiative to install a 16.8-kilowatt panel system that generates around 20,000 kWh per year and cost only $117,000. That’s less than 1% of the total building cost of $32 million slated for the new building at CWU.

Drexel University committed to purchase 100 percent of the campus’s energy from off-site wind and solar power facilities.

The University of Arizona has been adding more solar panels to their campus every year since 2009, reaching 28,095 kilowatt capacity in 2014.

Colorado State University has a solar power system that generates 8,500,000 kWh annually and provides students with hands-on experience in solar power hardware maintenance and output analysis. Campus acreage is designated with solar energy installations.

Even if the roof installation doesn’t face south, east and west installations produce plenty of power, only 25% less than south facing. This energy system would offset electricity costs for the new building for 25 years. There is no downside to installing solar energy.

Renewable energy is our collective imperative. All state monies awarded to our state universities should include dedicated funds, commensurate with the awarded monies, to install renewable energy.

Even if the state doesn’t mandate renewable energy, CWU should make it part of their construction package for all new construction including the new Health Sciences building.

Please include 1% of the $32 million, $320,000, for a solar panel installation as part of the construction package for the new Health Sciences building.

Everyone can do their part. Certainly CWU should also be committing to help mitigate the climate crisis and setting the example for our community.

Meghan Anderson

Ellensburg

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