Shippensburg University is continuing to enhance the quality of academic programming and student life with new building projects, while still managing to reduce energy consumption.

The university has numerous renovation or construction projects underway, even as it ranks among the most energy efficient universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

Lance Bryson, associate vice president of facilities, said, “We’ve been on the decline (in energy usage) since our guaranteed energy savings program began. Throughout the last couple of years we have seen a steady decline, and have seen a significant drop over the past year.”

According to a 2009-2010 energy report by PASSHE, Shippensburg’s energy consumption dropped 9.2 percent from the 2008-2009 academic year, and the cost of energy dropped 14.6 percent due to the numerous conservation measures Shippensburg has taken. In addition coal consumption dropped 11.8 percent, gas consumption dropped 6.7 percent and electric consumption went down 3.5 percent.

Shippensburg was one of the first universities in PASSHE to adopt a guaranteed energy savings program. According to Bryson, examples of better energy management include taking pars of campus off the energy grid in the summer and receiving energy from emergency generators. These tactics not only decrease energy usage, but also include a guaranteed monetary return. “We’re getting better each year with regard to money. We expect to see approximately a $30,000 to 40,000 return from removing Shippensburg from the grid,” said Bryson.

The university also has an Unplug It Campaign to save energy. All members of the campus community are asked to unplug computers, cellphone chargers, televisions and other electronic equipment when not in use. Electronic devices like these draw power even when they’re switched off or not in use.

The savings come even as the university continues or will soon start multiple construction projects to meet student needs. According to Bryson, the renovation and addition of Huber Arts Center will completed and the building ready for occupancy sometime next Spring. The $7 million project that will help the art department receive national accreditation, includes new labs and space for a student art gallery.

Work is also progressing on renovation and expansion of the Anthony F. Ceddia student union building. The $23 million project will significantly increase space in the CUB providing additional space for students to meet. “We’ve been significantly undersized according to our standards,” Bryson said. “After we finish the job, we will have sufficient space to entertain all Shippensburg students comfortably.”

Next June, work will being on replacing all of the current residence halls. The project, under the direction of Shippensburg University Student Services Inc., is eventually expected to cost approximately $200 million for new apartment style, on-campus housing. This project is being paid for by student fees.

A construction project in the planning stages will also directly help decrease the university’s energy usage. A $38 million replacement of the chilled water plant and renovation or replacement of the steam plant is projected to save the university $300,000 in energy management.

A complete listing of campus projects is available online.