Oklahoma Gas & Electric presented a $1,500 check to the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on Sept. 8 in recognition of the university’s energy- and water-conservation upgrades to the Sebastian Commons residence halls.
Ryan Lee, program manager at OG&E, awarded the check to Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor; Dr. Mary Lackie, vice chancellor for university advancement; and Rodney Parks, senior director of major and planned gifts, outside of the Sebastian Commons Tuesday afternoon. Program coordinator Adam Perkins of CLEAResult, an energy efficiency consulting firm that assessed the apartments and recommended a plan for upgrading the building, also assisted in the check presentation.
“OG&E has a 2020 plan, where we are trying to postpone the construction of additional power plants until at least 2020,” Lee said. “Initiatives like the 2020 plan makes energy efficiency a priority of our company, and it’s exciting to see UAFS embracing such measures. We have a history of collaborating with UAFS on projects like River Valley BEST and the Sustainable Conservation House, and we look forward to continue working with them in the future.”
The university has made several upgrades to the Sebastian Commons, including installing water-conserving faucets on bathroom showers and sinks and adding equipment that conserves electricity on electrical appliances. Larry Chilton, facilities manager at UAFS, estimated the measures to save the university more than $5,000 annually. Perkins designed a plan for the apartment’s upgrades through the Six Sigma approach, a data-driven assessment process.
“I first define or assess the current items to be upgraded, then measure potential savings for each upgraded item before analyzing that data to guarantee the proper upgrades will provide necessary savings,” Perkins said. “Then our licensed energy-efficiency contractors go into the property to improve each item. This process ensures we make controlled, effective and cost-efficient upgrades to the locations.”
Also present at the check presentation was Maebry Halmes, a student at UAFS who worked an internship this summer under Chilton. Chilton and Halmes implemented the energy-efficient measures at the Commons, in addition to several other measures installed campus-wide.