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Changing Light Bulbs, Changing Behaviors

The Department of Facilities Services has approached energy efficiency using a building-by-building approach for decades. Nearly every building on campus has been touched for efficiency in some way, including LED lighting retrofits, innovative heating and cooling solutions, and other mechanical upgrades. Beyond changing light bulbs, conserving energy is also about changing behavior.

The Office of Energy & Sustainability is working to create a culture of energy conservation on campus. Initiatives like the annual residence hall energy contest, Climate Action Week, the CWRU Climate Action Network, the sustainability ambassador program and Lab Freezer Challenge are a few examples.

Local Wind & Solar

CWRU currently invests in several local renewable energy campus systems and supports research in the field by our faculty and students.  

The university’s first renewable energy installation is the wind turbine near the Veale Athletic Center, erected in 2010. The 156-foot tall, 100 kilowatt wind turbine is a research project of the Ohio Wind Energy Research and Commercialization Center, directed by Dr. David Matthieson. The wind turbine helps to power Veale Center and is a living demonstration of a functioning and successful wind turbine in an urban and collegiate landscape. 

In 2011, CWRU worked with the Evergreen Cooperative to place a 60 kilowatt solar panel installation on the south-facing roof of Adelbert Gym. This installation provides power to One-to-One Fitness and was a $360,000 investment with a 20-year expected payback. 

A solar installation on West campus, on E. 105th St, known as the Sun Farm is associated with the CWRU School of Engineering’s Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension Center (SDLE center). The SDLE center is dedicated to the research and improvement of solar cells and solar electricity systems through better engineering. Dr. Roger French directs the center, which provides research opportunity to faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students. The energy generated by the Sun Farm panels is utilized by the adjacent parking garage. 

The Tinkham Veale University Center opened in August 2014 with a 40 kW flat-panel photovoltaic (PV) array incorporated in the green roof.  This installation is outfitted with metrology sensors and SDLE center research instruments. 

An additional research array is a top the MSASS building. More info to be added soon.

CWRU buys its electricity from The Medical Center Company (MCCo), a district energy system not-for-profit corporation. MCCo produces steam and chilled water to local member non-profit institutions within University Circle and procures our electricity from Cleveland Public Power. They also recently-installed a 1 megawatt ground-mounted solar field on Euclid Avenue at the Cleveland, East Cleveland border. The solar array partners with the SDLE for research purposes and is located on a former brownfield site.