Clean energy microgrid to power MSU College View development

An artistic rendering of Mississippi State’s College View development, which will feature a state-of-the-art energy efficient microgrid system. (Submitted photo)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An advanced energy system at Mississippi State’s new College View development will help the university continue to improve campus efficiency and resiliency.

College View, a public-private partnership between MSU and Greystar Real Estate Partners, will be powered by a clean energy microgrid developed by Blue Sky Power. The energy system will make College View’s housing and retail facilities more energy efficient and increase the area’s ability to avoid power outages.

The microgrid will reduce MSU’s carbon footprint by approximately 750 metric tons of carbon per year, resulting in $116,000 in annual energy savings.

“When we were presented with the possibility of this modern and efficient energy structure being a part of our College View project, we just didn’t see a downside,” said MSU Fiscal Operations Analyst Les Potts. “The innovative College View energy plan as presented was a first-of-a-kind for an IHL project that complemented the university’s on-going sustainability efforts. The idea that Greystar and MSU can provide the sort of exceptional living experience we intended for the students at reduced cost, improved resiliency, and with significantly reduced carbon output is very exciting.”

The microgrid contains a centralized electricity, heating and cooling plant that can operate independently in the event of a power outage, ensuring that College View remains fully operational, even during a failure of the larger electrical grid. The microgrid consists of a natural gas engine, an absorption chiller, central boiler and chiller plant.

“With the addition of a clean energy microgrid at College View, Mississippi State and Greystar are bringing state-of-the-art technology to the campus,” said Mark Grambergs, Greystar vice president of University Partnerships. “College View, with the installation of a trigeneration plant, will produce electricity, heating and cooling capability for the student residents. The high efficiency microgrid will enhance MSU’s position as a leader in sustainability through reduced carbon footprint and utility costs for students.

“The project will eliminate 18,750 tons of CO2 output over 25 years – which equates to the amount of carbon that would be sequestered by 22,085 acres of forest each year,” Grambergs added.

Construction of the College View development officially began in March and is on track to be completed by August 2019. College View includes 656 residential beds in a combination of one-, two- and four-bedroom units for upperclassmen in Phase I. It also will feature 46,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, recreational amenities, an outdoor entertainment zone, a 7,000-square-foot addition to the MSU daycare center, and parking.

Greystar is financing, building and managing the development utilizing a 40-year lease of university land with a 10-year renewal option. The public-private partnership with Greystar gives the university the benefits of a new building without issuing bonds or assuming additional debt.

As part of MSU’s long-standing goal of improving energy efficiency, new facilities are built with sustainability measures in mind, and several older buildings have been updated to new energy standards. The university’s lighting retrofit project has resulted in average energy and maintenance cost savings of nearly $1 million per year. Since 2007, MSU’s greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by approximately 53 percent per student. Since fiscal year 2006, efficiency and sustainability efforts at MSU have resulted in more than $55 million in savings.

Earlier this month, the Tennessee Valley Authority recognized MSU with a Carbon Reduction Award for the university’s low carbon emissions.

For more on the College View project, visit https://www.housing.msstate.edu/residence-halls/college-view/.

More information on the Blue Sky Power clean energy microgrid is available at http://www.blueskypower.com/microgrids-2/.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.