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UNH Applauded by EPA for First ENERGY STAR Residence Halls in U.S.

Release Date: 05/08/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Durham, N.H. - May 8, 2006) – The University of New Hampshire has attained the distinction of being the first institution in the United States to earn the ENERGY STAR designation for residence halls. By taking steps to ensure significant energy efficiency in dormitories, UNH will both save money and help reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere, including greenhouse gases.

UNH has earned an ENERGY STAR label for efforts to improve energy efficiency in Congreve, Lord and McLaughlin residence halls. The extensive upgrades on the residence halls were part of a campus-wide Climate Education Initiative to conserve energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Combined, these efforts are saving UNH nearly $80,000 per year compared to an average dorm in the U.S.

“UNH is blazing the trail, showing that residence halls are just like other buildings that can achieve high energy efficiency,” said EPA Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney. “Considering that ENERGY STAR has benchmarked more than 20,000 buildings and labeled more than 2,500 – being the first in the nation in this program is a truly remarkable achievement, and everyone here should be very proud.”

Compared to average performing residence halls of similar size, Congreve, Lord and McLaughlin Halls are preventing pollution equivalent to taking more than 100 vehicles off the road for a year – more than 65,000 gallons of gasoline.

Over several decades, UNH has incorporated many energy efficiency measures into the design and operation of campus buildings. Through a series of retrofits and educational programs, it is estimated that the university saves $4 million annually in energy compared to national average. Sophisticated facility management efforts include energy-smart lighting, revamped building control systems and energy education for maintenance and operations staff as well as the broader university community.

UNH is a climate protection campus whose students, faculty, and staff work together to conserve energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the quality of life and the environment on campus. The university has earned several regional and national awards for its innovative energy conservation efforts, which range from propane- and biodiesel-powered vehicles to its recycling and composting programs.

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and consumers protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, prevented 35 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 alone equivalent to the annual emissions from 23 million vehicles - and saved about $12 billion on their utility bills.

Buildings earn the ENERGY STAR based on EPA’s energy performance rating system. These buildings must score a 75 or better (on a scale from 1-100) based on their actual energy use, and also meet industry standards for comfort and indoor air quality. Lord and McLaughlin Halls each earned scores of 84, and Congreve earned a score of 87.

More information on energy issues in New England: http://www.epa.gov/region01/eco/energy/index.html

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