Energy consumption on campus is the largest source of the university's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Southern Oregon University is committed to reducing its energy consumption through conservation and efficiency, in addition to increasing onsite renewable energy generation.
Campus Energy Sources
SOU uses electricity and natural gas to provide energy to the campus. Electricity consumption accounts for approximately 39% of the university's GHG emissions. Electricity is purchased through the City of Ashland, who sources primarily from the Bonneville Power Administration. Natural Gas, purchased from Avista, accounts for about 18% of SOU's carbon footprint.
How Does SOU Heat and Cool Buildings?
The Utility Division of Facilities Management & Planning is responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of the heating and cooling systems on campus. The bulk of the heating and cooling is provided by a central utility plant, which houses four boilers and two chillers. Steam and chilled water are distributed from the central plant throughout the campus in an underground tunnel system. It is then converted to hot water, hot air, or cooled air in the building mechanical rooms, and then distributed through the building using the building HVAC systems. Some buildings (which are not on the central systems) are supported by localized air conditioners, heat pumps, or gas furnaces.
Southern Oregon University hosts more than 1,000 solar photovoltaic panels that harness the sun's rays to generate clean, renewable energy for the campus. The solar generated by these panels helps the university to power our buildings while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
SOU's first solar installation was on the Hannon Library in 2000! This 6 kW system consisting of 24 panels is rated to generate 7,646 kWh of electricity annually. View live generation data from this array and learn more about how solar works at http://www.solar4rschools.org/.