Geoexchange underground installation at Colorado Mesa
A portion of the 171,000 feet of pipes comprising the geoexchange system under CMU's campus.


Facilities Department works towards energy efficiency

Colorado Mesa University continues to seek new ways to save energy and reduce the amount of money spent on utilities. Current efforts spearheaded by the CMU Facilities Services Department have resulted in approximately $500,000 in savings for this year alone.

“As our campus continues to grow and we are asked to do more with less, it is important to continue to make these changes to conserve energy,” said Facilities Services Acting Manager of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability Keegan Pfeiffer. “Conserving energy not only helps to preserve valuable resources but also translates to financial savings.”

Colorado Mesa energy saving initiatives center around lighting retrofits, water conservation, heating and cooling controls and a geo-exchange system.

Lighting retrofits
Since 2014, facilities services has replaced more than 4,600 traditional incandescent lightbulbs with more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs have proven to be more durable and create a bright, shadow-free environment for improved safety and comfort.

LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional lighting, saving CMU on both energy costs and labor costs to replace lightbulbs.

Water conservation
Efforts to conserve water took a big step forward when a student’s idea was adopted in 2014. Student Hayden Murphy proposed installing low flow shower heads in residence halls decreasing water consumption by an estimated 40 percent. This idea cut the water bill and saved significant money on heating hot water. More than 375 low flow shower heads have been installed and are now the standard for new residential halls.

Heating and cooling controls
As the campus continues to grow, facilities services increasingly relies on a computerized energy management system to effectively operate and control heating and cooling equipment, Pfeiffer said. This system maintains building temperatures within a range and enables more efficient temperature controls in unoccupied buildings during holidays and extended breaks.

Geo-exchange system
CMU’s geo-exchange system is one of the largest in the country and provides significant energy savings to the university. The system includes 171,000 feet of 18-inch diameter polyethylene pipes and well fields across campus. It uses water to transfer heat from a building to the ground in the summer and from the ground to building in the winter. “Geo-exchange heating and cooling is cost effective, reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly,” Pfeiffer said.

These combined initiatives save money and energy. There is more to come, Pfeiffer said.

“Our next steps as far as energy conservation includes installing high-efficiency motors throughout the campus mechanical systems, continue retrofitting with energy-efficient, environmentally friendly lighting, and replacing older equipment with energy efficient equipment,” he said. “It is our goal to make all necessary arrangements to achieve optimum efficiency in the use of natural gas, electricity or any other purchased energy resources to meet the heating, cooling and lighting needs of the buildings and/or facilities.”

For tips on how you can help conserve energy, go to CMU Facilities Services.

Media Contact

Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

970.248.1868 (o)

970.640.0421 (c)