UK’s Energy-Efficient improvements have big pay-off

By Will Wright

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A rebate check for more than $1 million was presented to UK on Thursday by the Kentucky Utilities Company for its energy-efficient infrastructure improvements that have been made around campus.

“I always thought we would get a little money from KU,” said Bob Wiseman, vice president for facilities management. “But I never expected it to top $1 million.”

UK received the money from the Louisville Gas and Electric Company and the Kentucky Utilities Company’s Commercial Rebate Program, which gives cash incentives to promote replacing aging, inefficient equipment for commercial customers.

In December 2009, the UK Board of Trustees approved a contract with an energy service company called Ameresco, which resulted in upgrading the infrastructure of 61 campus buildings, guaranteeing annual savings of more than $2.4 million, nearly 14 million kilowatt hours and more than 37 million gallons of water.

David Huff, director of Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid Strategy with KU/LG&E, said in a press release that the saving “equates to a reduction of about 10 megawatts of electric demand.”

That could power 2,200 typical residential homes at the peak period of electricity used, he said.

“Customer participation in energy efficiency pro­grams offsets part of our customers’ growing energy demand, which can help delay the need for constructing additional electric generating facilities,” he said in the press release.

Many public schools in Kentucky have also participated in the utilities rebate programs from KU and the LG&E, totalling more than $2.7 million in rebates, according to a press release.

The University of Louisville received a $373,000 rebate in 2010, and Eastern Kentucky University received a $303,000 rebate in 2011.

The KU and LG&E Rebate Program was approved in 2008 and is funded through 2018.

It is offered to commercial customers of KU and LG&E who contribute to the Demand-Side Management program every month.