Office of Public Affairs

USM Receives Energy Grant

The University of Southern Maine has received a $135,000 competitive grant from Efficiency Maine to help fund an energy efficiency project on its Gorham campus. 

USM was one of a number of businesses and institutions to receive funding for large electrical energy efficiency and distributed generation projects.  Proposals were scored on such criteria as economic viability and cost effectiveness in terms of reducing kilowatt-hour consumption. 

The $135,000 in grant funding, combined with $200,000 in USM funds, allows the University to make lighting improvements on the Gorham campus that will save an estimated 676,000 kilowatt-hours per year, reducing USM’s annual utility bill by more than $70,000. When completed in the spring of 2012, USM’s investment will be paid back with cost savings in just 2.6 years.

The USM project will retrofit all parking lot and campus roadway fixtures in Gorham with LED lighting. In addition, all overhead lighting fixtures in the Costello Sports Complex’s Field House, Hill Gymnasium and Ice Arena will be replaced with highly efficient fixtures that will provide a better quality of light. Advanced wireless controls also will enable users to turn lights on exactly when and where needed, thereby avoiding waste.

The contractor, Leading Edge Design Group, is scheduled to begin the work in the Costello Sports Complex during the week of February 20.  Parking lot and roadway fixtures will be installed later this year.

“This grant provides a great opportunity for us to continue to improve our stewardship of University and public resources,” said USM Executive Director of Facilities Management Bob Bertram. “The athletic facilities, and the Field House in particular, have great potential to save energy costs because they are so heavily used by the University, high schools and other community groups.”

“This lighting project is a great example of an energy efficiency project with a quick return on investment, and one that will realize savings year after year,” said Efficiency Maine Communications Director Paul Badeau. “Furthermore, compared to conventional industrial lighting, LED lights reduce maintenance and replacement costs, and tend to be brighter as well. We’re delighted that we were able to assist USM in making their campus brighter and more attractive, while positively impacting their bottom line.”