The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Campus spends approximately $2.5 million each year for a total of 250,000 million British thermal units (mmbtu) worth of heat and electricity.
The majority of this energy, approximately three-quarters of it, is used to heat our buildings and water. The rest is consumed through electricity (air conditioning, lighting, computers, lab equipment, and other appliances).
The vast majority of our energy is sourced from fossil fuels, fuels that took millions of years to form and are not renewable. We make most of our heat for campus in the Central Heating Plant (the building with the tall smoke stack next to Ottensman Hall). About 80% of our heat comes from natural gas, the rest from coal.
This will change as we finish converting our Central Heating Plant to oil over the next year, at which point we will use only natural gas and oil.
Our electricity is provided by Alliant Energy: 39% of it is made from coal, 19% from natural gas, 6% from wind, 3% from hydropower (water), and the rest comes from a mix of sources. We have a small wind turbine and some solar panels on campus that collectively produce less than .05% of our electricity needs.
UW-Platteville has digital meters on each of our buildings. These meters allow us to see and record our energy consumption and utility costs for all campus buildings. Visit our energy dashboard.
State Facility Energy Report
Each year the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation (OEI) aggregates energy use from agencies across the state and adjusts that data based upon weather. This weather adjustment gives a more accurate picture of whether we truly are conserving energy, or if we just had an exceptionally hot or cold year.
Due largely to the improvements made during our performance contract and despite a 10% on-campus enrollment increase during that period, UW-Platteville had reduced our weather-adjusted energy consumption by 14.5% between 2005-2017. Visit the PSC Wisconsin Energy Statistics website, which includes the annual Energy Use in State Facilities Reports.
Under the Doyle administration, the state saw a push to increase energy conservation in their buildings (see the 2006 Green Building Executive Order). One of the ways that the state allowed agencies to pursue these energy conservation measures is through a "performance contract." A performance contract allows an agency to take out a bond (or loan from the government) to invest in improvements that will pay themselves off over a set time through resource savings.
UW-Platteville entered into a $3.5 million performance contract with McKinstry in 2011.
Between 2011 and 2014, McKinstry identified and made a series of energy conservation measures to campus, including building envelope improvements (such as insulation), light fixture changes, fume hood upgrades, and water conservation fixtures. They also installed solar photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine at Engineering Hall. They predicted an annual savings of $263,547 as a result of these improvements.
For details, see the McKinstry Phase 1 Measurement and Verification (M&V) report.