HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) has saved $3.4 million in energy costs in 2014 alone, the school confirmed on Jan. 20.
Since 2007, the campus has saved more than 9 percent on its projected energy costs. This was achieved through strategic air conditioning-, lighting- and building control-retrofitting projects. For the school, this was a major accomplishment, considering Manoa added 300,000 square feet in new buildings.
The UH Manoa campus is also home to the state’s first LEED Platinum laboratory facility, the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, or C-MORE Hale. This facility achieved LEED Platinum status two years ago. In 2014, the school’s dance studio achieved LEED Gold. Designed by Ushijima Architects of Honolulu, the 2,800-square-foot dance studio aimed for LEED Silver, but the project earned enough credits during the design phase to surpass that goal. A number of buildings, such as the newly renovated Gartley Hall and the IT Center, have achieved LEED Silver certification, and the university expects more energy improvements in the future.
“What we are moving towards now is going beyond LEED, a much more aggressive look at building performance,” said Stephen Meder, UH Manoa interim assistant vice chancellor, in a statement.
Although many new and retrofitted buildings on campus already have photovoltaic (PV) panels, there are plans to modernize UH Manoa’s electrical grid and to add more PV arrays to generate another 1.5 to 2 megawatts of electricity. These renewable energy systems would reduce the campus’ electricity demand by about 10 percent per year.
The university is also working on the state’s first net-zero, large-scale retrofit project, which will include 80,000 square feet of classrooms and offices at Kuykendall Hall. The school anticipates that no fossil fuel will be consumed in the operation of the renovated building. It will be designed to use at least 60 percent less energy per year than it does now, with PV-generated electricity supplying the balance.
UH Manoa’s goal is to be a model university for energy solutions and sustainability.
“When they come to Mānoa, students should know that they are coming to a university that exemplifies solutions to the problems that face us in the 21st century — problems like sustainability and climate change,” said UH Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, in a statement. “When they come here, they will study those matters, they will do research on those matters and they need to know that they will be living in buildings that exemplify solutions to those problems.”