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U of C goes greener

Evolve project to cut campus energy costs

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The University of Calgary is getting a little greener thanks to a $38 million deal with Direct Energy Business Services.

The evolve project, announced in April, is a joint venture between the university and Direct Energy, aiming to meet some of the U of C's sustainability goals through energy-saving techniques. A portion of the Direct Energy money will also go to student scholarships and energy education and research.

Plans include the installation of LCD screens in campus buildings to display the energy consumption of the building and the campus as compared to previous years. The screens will also display information about how staff and students can reduce energy consumption.

"The LCD screens will be installed over the next six months and we will be renovating many buildings to reduce consumption," said Peter Dixon, Vice-President of Direct Energy.

Dixon explained further renovation plans include the installation of LED lighting, upgrades to present mechanical equipment and an analysis of the university's central heating plant.

Currently, the U of C's energy costs exceed $17 million annually.

"The university can expect to see a reduction in energy use later this year and into 2006," said Dixon, noting Direct Energy hopes to reduce energy usage on campus by $30 million over the seven-year project.

Evolve also fits with plans to create a more sustainable campus, according to U of C VP External Relations Roman Cooney.

"The university's overall objective is to become the leading green campus in the country," said Cooney.

U of C Eco Club President Stephanie Ferguson said evolve's energy saving measures are long overdue, stressing the U of C lags far behind many other Canadian universities in terms of sustainability.

"I think its about time the university came out with something like this," said Ferguson. "The sustainability initiative is going to go much further, but the evolve project is a good first step."

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