Skip to main content
Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Improve energy efficiency

Implement more aggressive building energy standards

Infrastructure Planning Facilities has revised the MSU standards of construction to ensure that at a minimum, all new campus buildings would be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified if one pursued certification on the project. Some projects have gone through the complete LEED process – the Chemistry Building addition earned LEED Silver, while both the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center and the Secchia Center achieved LEED Gold.

The committee recommends that the university go beyond LEED certified levels and pursue more aggressive energy standards for buildings. Requiring buildings to pursue LEED Silver or higher certifications and prioritizing the energy points is one option; however, there are other standards that also can be used. For example, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has energy standards for high performing buildings.

More aggressive building energy standards will encourage the pursuit of more innovative solutions such as net-zero energy buildings and advanced energy efficiency technologies. MSU also could create a plan for retrofitting existing buildings with renewable energy sources.

Continue to review and improve energy efficiency

The committee agreed that efficiency improvement should be regarded as an ongoing area of emphasis. MSU plans to pursue new efficiency strategies and technologies as they emerge. Benchmarks and trend lines can be developed to identify opportunities and monitor progress toward meeting efficiency goals in relation to the overall energy plan.

In 2012, MSU joined the Better Buildings Challenge and committed to improving energy efficiency 20% by 2020 in 20 million square feet of its East Lansing campus. The effort, led by former President Bill Clinton, was launched by President Barack Obama in February 2011 to promote the construction and retro-commissioning of more energy efficient buildings in the United States.

Implement smart-grid technology

Smart-grid is a computer-based electrical grid which uses two-way digital communication and automation to predict and intelligently respond to the behavior and actions of all electric power users connected to it in order to efficiently deliver reliable, economic, and sustainable electricity services. Benefits of smart-grid technology include:

  • Increased use of digital information and controls technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid
  • Dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources, with full cyber-security
  • Deployment and integration of distributed resources and generation, including renewable resources
  • Development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources, and energy efficient resources

A graphic depicting a smart-grid system, which better integrates multiple elements of the power infrastructure – including peak, centralized, distributed, and micro-generation, as well as industrial solutions.
Depiction of a smart-grid system. The smart-grid better integrates multiple elements of the power infrastructure.

There are many potential benefits of utilizing smart-grid, but those most exciting for the Energy Transition Plan vision are the ability for users to communicate with the grid, thus improving energy demand response and increasing energy efficiency, and the ability to better integrate and deploy renewable energy.