Campus is making bold moves to reduce our fossil fuel footprint and fight climate change.
With over 40 buildings on our campus, our operational choices significantly impact the planet and our budget. Since 2013, we reduced our energy use by 9.5% and with that, our scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions by 21%. We aim to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 33% before 2025 (source: UW-Platteville 2025 Sustainability Plan). To achieve this, we discontinued use of coal in our central heating plant in fall of 2020 and built a 2.4 megawatt solar array. We are also pursuing LEED certification of our new engineering building, Sesquicentennial Hall, which will open fall of 2022.
UW-Platteville actively invests in energy reduction and these efforts are paying off. Some of the measures we have taken include:
- Light replacements
- Building envelop improvements
- Lab ventilation improvements
- Vending machine and light sensors
- Peak management
Completed in August of 2022, the new five-acre solar field produces 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 250 homes annually. The University’s $3.4 million investment serves as a symbol of its commitment to sustainability, a clean environment, and a healthy planet. The power generated by the solar array is equal to approximately 15% of the total electricity consumed by the University. The array feeds all its power directly into the University’s main electrical meter connected to 33 campus buildings rather than sending it back to the grid. It is anticipated to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2,300 tons per year. The array is expected to have a 30-year useful life and is designed to accommodate future battery storage.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the solar array provides additional hands-on learning opportunities across the University. Students from a variety majors provided inspiration and technical ideas that have been and will be implemented in the project. Students in the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems program developed a conceptual design for the location and specifications of the array in their senior design project. Students studying dairy science developed a plan for sheep to graze under the array to provide control of invasive plant species. A plan to establish a native pollinator/ prairie restoration under the array was developed by students in the Environmental Reclamation and Conservation program.
UW-Platteville offers a four-year renewable energy degree that is one of only a handful of its type in the nation and also offers a degree in environmental science and conservation
UW-Platteville also has two small solar arrays (a 5 kw system on Engineering Hall and a smaller one on Russel Hall) and a 20 kw wind turbine.
Our carbon footprint measures the total emissions caused by UW-Platteville and expresses it as greenhouse gas metric tons equivalent (GHG MTCDE). UW-Platteville has reported on our greenhouse gasses in 2016 and 2018 (and in a 2010 student report). To date, UW-Platteville has reported on scope 1 & 2, and are working reporting more of our scope 3.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station UW-Platteville is home to several level 2 electric vehicle charging stations. One is located in Parking lot 33. This charging station has two 80 AMP chargers, each with J-1772 plugs. Six additional electric vehicle charging stations are being added in Lot 30, outside of the new Sesquicentennial Hall. The stalls are managed through the university’s ParkMobile system. Learn more.
Heating Plant Conversion As of fall 2021, campus no longer uses coal. Our Central Heating Plant (which provides heat to most campus buildings) now uses natural gas with heating oil as a back up fuel. This conversion is expected to reduce our heat-related emissions by 20%.
Energy Innovation Grant
UW-Platteville applied for and was awarded a grant from the 2020 Energy Innovation Grant Program in April 2021. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Office of Energy (PSC) sought applications for a wide variety of energy related projects, including reducing energy consumption, supporting renewable energy and energy storage, energy efficiency and demand response, electric and renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicles and infrastructure, or comprehensive energy planning.
The UW-Platteville Office of Sustainability was awarded $98,000 to develop a comprehensive energy plan, with the goals of campus reducing energy costs, building energy resiliency, and reducing UW-Platteville’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposed plan will help UW-Platteville create balance between energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; create an energy efficiency project priority list with simple paybacks and justifications; identify and evaluate potential on- and off-site renewable energy strategies; help UW-Platteville evaluate energy storage, demand-management, and microgrid opportunities; and prioritize all against a quickly evolving technological and political landscape. Through the grant, UW-Platteville will also work to establish an energy dashboard and monitoring system, energy-related standards for new buildings to align with the new Department of Administration Sustainability Standards, behavior modification programs, and establish a campus energy committee with an energy conservation revolving loan fund.
Facility staff will work with energy efficiency consultants and sustainable design engineers, to create the plan. They will create the framework for integrating continuous energy efficiency improvements into UW-Platteville, lead campus stakeholders to define and document a consistent methodology to identify, prioritize, and implement energy improvements, as well as establish the Energy Plan as a system to measure, document, and report energy efficiency improvements.