South Dakota State University has been committed to energy conservation for a long time and further embraced that commitment back in 1999 when Facilities and Services hired its first Energy Conservation Engineer. Since that time, the university has dedicated a lot of resources and effort towards that commitment.
There are several major advantages of efficiently and effectively utilizing the energy SDSU consumes with the two most obvious being the financial and environmental benefits. Looking at some historical data will help put this into perspective. In 2006, SDSU utilized 21.41 Btu/ft2/DD and in 2015, that energy consumption went down to 18.09 Btu/ft2/DD.* If SDSU had the same consumption rate in 2015 as it did in 2006, the university would pay almost $1 million more in utilities. Environmental benefits come from less energy used which in turn creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions. A large step towards lowering emissions and becoming more efficient was made in 2012 when SDSU stopped burning coal as its energy source. The university now uses natural gas boilers in the Central Heating Plant to provide heat for the majority of campus.
A notable step towards recognizing the value of energy conservation occurred in 2008 when the State of South Dakota passed Senate Bill 188 which required all state owned buildings to achieve a silver rating under the United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. SDSU has since constructed 12 LEED certified buildings across campus with a few more on the way.
SDSU is continually working towards utilizing its resources more efficiently in order to reduce its operating costs and its carbon footprint while simultaneously increasing its sustainability and occupant comfort. In 2012, SDSU moved from coal to natural gas as the main heating source for campus.
*Degree Day - A degree day is a method used to account for temperature variations in the weather and is very useful to get accurate data. Degree days account for the cold/warm weather and prevent data from being skewed.