Renewable Energy Projects
Invest in large-scale renewable energy projects
Furman is committed to using a variety of methods to reduce its carbon footprint. This will not only save money through energy conservation, it will also reduce the university’s financial exposure to dramatic fluctuations in the supply and price of any single energy resource.
In coming years, Furman will develop more renewable energy resources, resulting in a more diverse energy portfolio.Several renewable energy possibilities are being considered, such as solar, geothermal, and biomass. However, a complete feasibility study will be required to understand how much conventional energy consumption can be replaced by renewable energy sources.
What kinds of renewable energy systems does Furman have currently?
Furman has several solar installations on campus that serve both to produce energy and as opportunities for teaching and research on campus and in the community. Solar photovoltaic panels at Cliffs Cottage provide enough energy to offset all energy use in the building, and solar thermal systems at Cliffs Cottage and the Lay Physical Activities Center provide hot water for those buildings. In the Charles H. Townes Science Center, a new solar concentrator system is in the process of being installed. The concentrated energy will be directed to photovoltaic panels, and heated water will also be created as a byproduct of the process.
In late 2009 Furman also received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that will allow the university to replace the aging HVAC heating and cooling system in the North Village student housing complex with an environmentally friendly and much more energy-efficient geothermal heat pump system. This system is projected to result in annual savings of $55,000 and an annual carbon emissions reduction of 676 metric tons CO2 equivalent. As electricity prices are projected to increase, lifetime savings could reach from $1.9 to $2.6 million. The construction of this geothermal system is projected to be complete by the summer of 2013. Research on this project will be part of the Shi Center's applied research program.