BOZEMAN — Montana State University has accessibility up to $500,000 to use for improving, promoting, and researching energy efficiency on campus.
“We have made incredible successes, but now we’re at a point where we need some real and technical engineering expertise on some real and difficult problems,” Tracy Ellig said.
Tracy Ellig, Vice President of University Communications at Montana State University, delves into those issues and how this money could advance— an already extensive — the energy efficiency of campus buildings.
Connecting large-scale systems, such as the three geothermal fields, is one of the potential solutions to create more efficiency. The university is planning to hire a consulting firm to discuss different aspects of campus, and potential solutions to eliminate emissions.
Unlike the hot springs of Yellowstone, the geothermal fields at MSU stay within a range of 45-65 degrees. On chilly, winter days, the heat from the earth can be extracted to heat up the building—and vice versa on a warm day. As Ellig puts it, the geothermal field and the building acts as a battery, they can exchange thermal energy with one another.
“When you’re taking these steps, essentially, you are saving money over a very long period of time,” Ellig said.
Students, such as Atticus Cummings and Hailey Sinoff, are passionate about sustainability and reusable energy sources and welcome the news of improvement and expansions.
“MSU has a really big influence on the rest of the community, and what we do says a lot to the rest of Bozeman on what’s acceptable for us to act on,” Sinoff said.
Hailey Sinoff is a Senior at Montana State University, studying Political Science, and is the Campus Climate Coalition Co-Lead. Sinoff would like to attend law school following graduation, potentially working in environmental law.
Atticus Cummings is an ASMSU Senator-at-large and is passionate about energy efficiency. In the future, Cummings would like to build a company around the idea of revitalizing building materials for sustainable projects.
The next step for the university will be to connect with consulting firms to see what the university can improve upon.