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Going Green Gains Glory for MU

Mizzou Wins National Award for Eco-Friendly Efforts

April 16, 2008

Story Contact:  Christian Basi, (573) 882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. —Whether it’s by using fluorescent light bulbs or buying all-natural cleaning supplies, organizations everywhere are becoming increasingly eco-friendly and striving to reduce their impact on the environment. University of Missouri officials recently earned recognition for their efforts as MU was named a recipient of the Energy Efficiency award following the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) national competition, Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming.

A total of eight colleges and universities throughout the nation were recognized for creative solutions to reverse global warming and will receive a grant from NWF to continue exploring their innovative ideas.

“I am very proud that Mizzou was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation for efforts in energy efficiency and conservation,” said Paul Coleman, manager of energy conservation at MU. “This award is especially significant because it was applied for by a student.”

Since 1990, when MU began the Energy Conservation Program, campus energy expenditures have been reduced by 19 percent while campus space has grown by nearly 60 percent. Energy costs have decreased by $4 million annually, and emissions have been reduced by 96,000 tons. 

Last October, the MU power plant began replacing up to 5 percent of its coal supply with biomass in the form of wood chips, saving more than 7,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in a single year. The plant replaced another portion of the coal supply with tires, using up to 350,000 passenger tires gleaned from waste tire dump sites each year. Researchers are exploring other substitutes for coal that could someday be used in the MU power plant, such as switchgrass and corn cobs.

Beyond the power plant, MU Campus Facilities Energy Management (CFEM) has reduced energy use by upgrading lighting fixtures, air handling systems and installing motion sensors in buildings across campus. Their work has received national recognition, including the 2004 International District Energy Association System of the Year award, an honor given annually to the best district energy systems in the world.

Winners of Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming were chosen through an essay contest. Jason Fox, an MU junior and president of the Student Energy Conservation Society, wrote the essay for MU and focused his writing on results achieved by CFEM in reducing campus energy consumption. NWF will award the grant of $1,000 to Fox and the Student Energy Conservation Society, which will use the money for a research project on biodiesel.

 At 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, the NWF will hold a webcast from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to highlight the award’s eight recipients.