STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State is being honored by a national publication for its facility maintenance decisions resulting in more than $20 million in savings over seven years from decreased energy consumption.
In the just-published August edition, Facility Maintenance Decisions magazine announced winners of its annual Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Awards. The university is among eight public and private organizations receiving top honors in the 2013 competition.
In the competition's renovations and retrofit category, MSU shares honors with the Florida-based Orlando Health hospital network.
This year's award winners will be recognized officially Sept. 18 during the National Facilities Management and Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.
J.D. Hardy, associate director of utilities in MSU's campus services organization, said the land-grant institution is being recognized for its major sustainability and energy efficiency efforts.
"Our department has been focused on energy efficiency for a number of years," he said. "In 2006, the university administration responded to spiking energy bills by commissioning an energy committee with the task of more efficient resource utilization."
Hardy said Campus Services staff members "led the way by identifying a broad array of facility upgrades and retrofits aimed at improving energy efficiency, performance and reliability, while at the same time lowering ongoing operational costs."
"This reduction in energy intensity accounts for more than $23 million in avoided utility expenses," he noted, adding that the focus on efficiency has resulted in a 48 percent drop in energy consumption per student, even as enrollment has grown by thousands.
Putting it another way, Hardy said the MSU Energy Management Program has yielded "a 37 percent drop in energy consumption per square foot" on the Starkville campus over the past seven years.
In keeping with Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum's 2009 Climate Commitment, Campus Services additionally developed a climate action plan that has been adopted as part of the university's overall strategic plan.
"The climate action plan establishes a road map that will lead MSU to carbon neutrality by 2042," Hardy said. "This road will not be easy, but the upcoming campus lighting and control upgrade, campus sustainability programs and central ice storage plant installation are just the next steps in a long-term goal to be the model of ultra-efficiency."
Formally known as Maintenance Solutions, the Wisconsin-based magazine that presents the achievement awards is the only U.S. publication written exclusively for professional engineering and maintenance managers at commercial and institutional facilities.
Other 2013 winners among institutions of higher learning are Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, University of Michigan and University of Pittsburg (Pa.) Medical Center. A complete list of winners may be viewed via the "Awards" icon at www.facebook.com/FMDmag.
"We had a record number of votes this year," said David Lubach, the magazine's associate editor. "This signals the fact that recognition is valued and important for maintenance and engineering departments."