Energy and the Built Environment

LEED Buildings

Indiana University incorporates green principles in all phases of a building's life cycle and is dedicated to developing and renovating buildings that use resources efficiently and create healthy environments. The COAS Building shared by IUN and Ivy Tech is a LEED Silver certified energy-efficient building completed in 2017.

LED lighting and Smart Sensors

IUN is increasing campus energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by converting the campus to LED lighting and smart sensor technology. 100% of the outdoor lighting on campus is already LED along with several buildings on campus.

Parking Lot

Campus parking lots offer an opportunity to implement innovative green infrastructure. Watch for green parking lot renovations that use innovative stormwater management practices, vegetation, and sustainable paving materials to mitigate adverse environmental impacts of large expanses of paving.

Energy Resources

The video below was made possible through a grant from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Foundation. The tutorial provides background on the energy transition taking place in Northwest Indiana, traditional versus sustainable energy resources, and the importance and urgency of developing sustainable energy options. It provides tips on how to move toward a sustainable energy future at home, on campus, and in local communities to create a more resilient region.

Description of the video:

Case Study

  1. Title slide
  2. NIPSCO and the Changing Sources of Energy
    1. The industrial sector of Northwest Indiana is working to increase energy efficiency, transition away from fossil fuels, and adopt renewable, clean energy resources. In Northwest Indiana, the main energy provider is the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, or NIPSCO. NIPSCO is actively transitioning away from the use of coal to generate electricity and has ambitious goals. In fact, NIPSCO, and the parent company NiSOURCE, are considered leaders in the transition to clean energy both in the State of Indiana and in their wider service area.
    2. In 2019, NIPSCO’s own energy mix consisted of seventy-one percent coal energy generation, with only four percent renewable energy generation. Transitioning away from coal is critical to mitigate climate change. NIPSCO says that it will reduce carbon emissions by “more than 90%” by 2028 from a 2005 baseline. While other utilities are claiming that they need to build gas plants to manage their transition out of coal, NIPSCO has said that it will skip straight from coal to renewable energy. By 2028, NIPSCO plans to completely phase out their coal-fired energy generation in Northwest Indiana!
    3. But it’s not just about climate change. The use of coal to generate electricity and the disposal of coal ash waste has been a major threat to human and environmental health in communities that surround coal-fired power plants. Wherever energy is provided by coal, you will find environmental issues like air, soil, and water pollution. Eliminating the use of coal is widely recognized as a necessary step in the future of energy production that will benefit both public health and the environment. Energy providers like NIPSCO also argue that the transition is part of a broader goal to provide cost-effective and equitable access to clean energy.
  3. Coal-Burning Power Plants
    1. In most areas there is only one major energy provider. So those providers have to evolve and interact with local communities over the course of decades. In Northwest Indiana, NIPSCO built the coal-fired power plant that currently exists in Michigan City along Lake Michigan in 1929. It actually built the plant on the former site of Hoosier Slide, a historic sand dune that was culturally significant for the people of the area. That dune had already been mined away by other companies for its quartz-rich, high quality sand which was valuable for use along railroads and to create Muncie Ball Company’s famous blue glass jars or “Ball” jars.
    2. The Michigan City power plant burns coal to generate electricity. Burning coal produces air pollutants like sulfur dioxides, particulate matter, and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It also produces a waste-product called coal ash. Coal ash is a physical byproduct of coal combustion that can be stored on site near power plants in coal-ash ponds or that can be transported off site for disposal in solid waste landfills.
    3. Over the decades, the industry has learned more about the science of air pollutants and coal ash, and they have struggled to understand and combat the impacts on local communities. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants affects human and environmental health. Common approaches to combating air pollution include using low-sulfur coal and installing “scrubber” technology to capture sulfur and particulate matter.
    4. Throughout much of the 1900s, the potential risks from coal ash were not fully understood, and the ash was often used like a soil or “fill” in local construction and communities. Today we know much more about proper storage.  But in areas where coal ash is stored in ponds, environmental disasters can occur when the walls of the ponds fail or when flooding occurs from natural disasters. Older landfills did not have geotechnical liners like they do today and disposal of coal ash in landfills often led to groundwater contamination in local communities.
  4. Coal Ash Contamination
    1. Unfortunately, Northwest Indiana has its own coal ash contamination story from the Town of Pines near the Michigan City power plant. Throughout the 1970s, coal ash was disposed of in a landfill called Yard 520, on state highway 520.
    2. The landfill is sited on highly permeable sands that were deposited during the evolution of Lake Michigan. The groundwater table is high and flows toward the Town of Pines and Lake Michigan. The landfill did not have the geotechnical liners that we find in modern landfills that receive coal ash, so leaching of chemicals into the local groundwater occurred. The actual coal ash was even used as fill along railroad tracks and roads in local communities, including the Town of Pines. Coal ash has been found in the soil of several homes and a half-acre public park in Pines.
    3. By the late 1990’s and early 2000s, it was evident that the coal ash was causing environmental problems, especially in the Town of Pines. The fact that the landfill did not have a proper liner allowed the coal ash to contaminate local groundwater and the aquifer which supplied water to residents and businesses. Coal ash can contain toxic substances including arsenic, lead, boron, and mercury. Exposure to those substances can lead to health complications like lung and heart diseases, cancer, and nervous system damage.
  5. From Contamination to Clean-Up
    1. The Town of Pines is now an EPA-designated Superfund Site. By the 2010’s NIPSCO stepped in to begin removal and remediation at both the Michigan City site and in the Town of Pines.
    2. Fast forward to 2022 and the time when this video was made. The EPA and NIPSCO reached a twelve million dollar settlement. While NIPSCO may not have been responsible for how and where the coal ash was disposed of once the waste left the facility, NIPSCO is an active partner in the solution, helping to monitor groundwater and fund the removal and remediation of contaminated soil at homes within the Superfund site.
    3. On its own property, coal ash is expected to be fully removed from coal ash ponds at the Michigan City NIPSCO site by the end of 2022. Groundwater remediation and monitoring systems are already in place for ongoing monitoring of any impacts from the storage of coal ash.
  6. Progress at NIPSCO
    1. Everything we described is part of NIPSCO’s long history as a major energy provider.  The future of NIPSCO is focused on clean, renewable energy and the Race to Zero carbon emissions with an emphasis on environmental equity.
    2. NIPSCO and NiSources’s goals will have national and global impacts on human health, environmental health, and efforts to combat climate change.
  7. Energy Production Impacts Our Atmosphere
    1. Carbon dioxide and methane are the most widely produced greenhouse gasses associated with electricity generation, industry, and transportation. Greenhouse gasses are extremely effective at trapping heat in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
    2. When sunlight hits the Earth, some is reflected back into space, while some energy interacts with earth’s surface and atmosphere, and generates heat. Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere absorb infrared energy that is re-radiated by the Earth, keeping it from escaping into space and causing certain gasses, greenhouse gasses, to generate heat.
    3. The more greenhouse gasses we produce, the more heat will be generated in the atmosphere, driving global climate change. The main greenhouse gasses emitted from human activity are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides. Carbon dioxide is not the most potent greenhouse, but it is the most abundant greenhouse gas emitted by human activities.
  8. GHG Emissions in the US
    1. This diagram shows greenhouse gas emissions in the United States during 2018. As you can see, carbon dioxide accounts for eighty percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions - which is why there is so much focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
    2. But methane is another greenhouse gas to watch out for. It is produced in much lower amounts than carbon dioxide, but it is twenty-five times more powerful than carbon dioxide at causing atmospheric heating. We say that methane molecules have a higher global warming potential, so reducing methane sources is an important goal for combating climate change.
    3. While these greenhouse gasses are released from both natural and human activities, the largest sectors that contribute to human greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S are the transportation, electricity generation, and industrial sectors. Knowing these sources gives us the power to make decisions that reduce our emissions.
  9. The energy resources we use matter
    1. The overall takeaway here is that the energy sources we use matter! If we want to live sustainably, protect human and environmental health, and decrease our greenhouse gas emissions, we have to transition from outdated fossil-fuel sources to sustainable, renewable, and clean energy sources.
    2. In our discussion of outdated energy sources, we are going to focus on fossil fuels because they are the main energy options that we use in Indiana and that are available to you in your homes and communities.

Section 1: Outdated Energy Resources

  1. Section slide: Outdated Energy Resources
  2. Non-renewable resources
    1. Non-renewable resources are, unfortunately, the most common source of energy in the United States. Non-renewables are defined as resources that do not replenish themselves naturally on a human time scale. This means that, while a fossil fuel like coal can become replenished through natural processes, it would take much longer than a human lifespan to do so. Plus, the environmental conditions required to create large amounts of fossil fuels no longer exist on our planet.
    2. Because they are in limited supply, non-renewable resources will not sustain human activities in the long run. The four major types of non-renewable resources are the fossil fuels petroleum, coal and natural gas, as well as nuclear power.
    3. Nuclear power is generally considered clean and safe and is an important source of energy, more commonly utilized in Europe. In the early 2000s, the US was starting to move toward increasing its use of nuclear power.
    4. But that idea fell in popularity after an earthquake and tsunami caused safety features to fail and nuclear reactors to meltdown in Fukushima, Japan in 2011. Because it is uncommon in the U.S, we will not go into detail about nuclear energy.
  3. Fossil Fuels
    1. Fossil fuels are created primarily from organic plant and animal remains that were buried millions of years ago under drastically different geologic conditions.
    2. Over the course of millions of years, organic material was buried deeper and deeper into the Earth, increasing pressure and forcing out gasses and water. The heat and pressure that these organic remains underwent is what turned them into one of the three types of fossil fuels: petroleum or oil, coal, and natural gas.
  4. How coal was formed
    1. Coal is created from the remains of terrestrial forests and wetlands. Oil is created from the remains of microscopic marine organisms called plankton. Natural gas can be found with both coal and oil deposits. Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable resources because of the time and conditions required to create them.
    2. Despite their inability to replenish naturally on a human time scale, fossil fuels still account for eighty percent of global energy consumption. They are generally considered cheap and abundant, easy to extract, and the infrastructure already exists to support the production, transportation, and use of fossil fuels.
  5. Petroleum
    1. We’ll start by discussing petroleum. Petroleum is extracted from the Earth using one of two methods: either the oil is pumped out of traditional oil wells, or it is extracted during a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting large amounts of water and other chemicals at high pressures into bedrock that is tight or lacks permeability.
    2. In recent years it has become glaringly clear that the US needs to eliminate its dependency on foreign oil. And while the US has abundant oil reserves, many are in pristine Arctic environments or offshore reservoirs where drilling is difficult, expensive, and it inevitably causes environmental damage.
    3. While petroleum has many uses, such as producing more than six thousand items and providing gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles, its negative impacts may outweigh its benefits, especially if we can find cleaner, renewable options.
    4. Petroleum combustion releases excessive amounts of greenhouse gasses, namely carbon dioxide. With these greenhouse gas emissions comes greater amounts of air pollution, which threatens public and environmental health. Similarly, petroleum combustion can add to nonpoint source pollution in waterways, as oil leakage on the road or in parking lots gets swept away by precipitation.      
  6. Coal
    1. Coal is a solid fossil fuel that is rich with carbon and easy to burn. The reason coal has been such a popular fuel source is mainly because it is a solid, so it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to mine, transport, and use.
    2. There are also near-surface coal deposits in Indiana, which represent an important economic resource for the state. But as easy-to-mine coal deposits diminish, planning to transition from coal to renewable and cleaner energy sources becomes essential. 
    3. Coal is generally used in industries like steel production and electricity generation for homes and industries via coal-fired power plants. Coal combustion releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses into the air, along with other air pollutants like particulate matter, mercury, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides. Coal combustion directly increases the greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere and adds to the air pollution around us.
    4. Another issue with coal combustion is the production of by-products including coal ash waste. As we noted in our opening case study, improper coal ash disposal is linked to a variety of human and environmental health risks.    
  7. Natural gas
    1. Natural gas is a fossil fuel mostly composed of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. Natural gas is used at home for heating and cooking, and it can be used to produce energy. It is generally extracted from rock formations and pumped to the surface. It can also be mined by hydraulic fracturing, like oil.
    2. Even though the use of hydraulic fracturing has exploded in recent years and opened access to hard-to-reach reservoirs, the process remains controversial in terms of its environmental impacts, which include water pollution and generating local earthquakes. Hydraulic fracturing is a risky process, as gas leaks can release methane directly to the atmosphere.
    3. Why do we use natural gas? Out of all three fossil fuels, natural gas burns the cleanest - it releases less carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and other pollutants when burned, it is abundant, we know how to extract it, and the technology for transporting gas through pipelines and as liquified natural gas exists and is expanding.
    4. Despite its reputation as a clean fossil fuel, natural gas combustion still releases greenhouse gasses and there is growing focus on unintentional methane leaks that occur from wells, during extraction, from major pipelines that transport gas across the country, and even leaks from municipal and residential gas lines.   
  8. Fossil Fuels & Human Health
    1. Fossil fuels aren’t only bad for our atmosphere. The human health impacts of fossil fuel combustion are severe. Air pollution from fossil fuels can exacerbate asthma and cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, like heart disease and lung cancer.
    2. One of the greatest reasons to transition away from fossil fuels is the preservation of human health. When fossil fuel-related jobs are valued over the health of the public, it is a grave environmental justice issue.
    3. The costs of treating diseases caused by exposure to fossil fuel emissions and pollution are higher than the profits generated from fossil fuel reliance, especially when there are clean and renewable options available.
  9. How else can we get our energy
    1. Environmental scientists, policymakers, and average citizens alike are actively transitioning away from fossil fuels to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health! But how else will we get our energy? 

Section 2: Sustainable Energy Resources

  1. Section Slide - Sustainable Energy Resources
  2. Renewable Energy
    1. As we transition away from fossil fuels, we are moving towards using renewable energy resources! These are sustainable resources that replenish themselves naturally and have lower human health impacts because of the lack of pollutant emissions.
    2. The five sustainable energy resources we will talk about are wind, solar, and geothermal energy, biomass, and hydropower. 
  3. Wind Energy
    1. As the name suggests, wind energy is generated by wind power, which we utilize with the use of wind turbines. Energy produced from wind turbines supplied over eight percent of the nation’s energy in 2020, but each year we are hoping that the percent will increase. Wind energy is actually the most utilized renewable energy source in our country. Generating electricity from wind power reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by over three hundred and twenty-five million metric tons in the U.S!
  4. Wind energy utilized more in US
    1. Wind energy is being utilized more and more in the US. In 2020, the US installed new wind turbines that increased the land wind energy generation in our country by seventeen gigawatts! Our offshore wind power production was also increased by twenty-four percent in 2020!
    2. We have wind farms in Northwest Indiana, too! The two images on the right here show the Meadow Lake Wind Farm, which spans into three counties: Jasper, which is a part of Northwest Indiana, White, and Benton counties. This 801.25 megawatt wind farm produces enough electricity to supply over two hundred thousand Indiana homes with energy.
  5. Solar Energy
    1. Solar energy is produced when energy from the sun is converted into thermal energy or electricity. Solar energy generated three percent of the nation’s electricity in 2020. It is mainly used for heating and electricity generation. The greatest benefit of solar energy is that it is completely clean: it doesn’t produce air or water pollution, waste byproducts, or greenhouse gas emissions. 
    2. While solar panels produce clean energy, we still need to be mindful of what we do with them before and after production. Like with any technology, we need to watch that the panels are being produced and disposed of responsibly, including minimizing the impacts of mining and production of panels.
    3. Solar energy is not widely used in the US, and it may be because of the misconceptions about it. For example, some say that the Midwest is too cloudy to use solar energy, but that is actually not true! Solar panels can be very efficient in the typical climate of Indiana and other midwestern states.
    4. When someone mentions solar energy, most of us think about huge solar fields covered in panels, but solar panels can be customized for your home or community! Today it's common to see solar panels powering lights around stop signs or in parking lots.
    5. As shown in the picture here, solar panels can also be scaled to fit your roof, or can be placed in your yard. With as little as a few hours of direct sunlight a day, solar panels can supply a home with efficient, sustainable energy!
    6. It is important to note, however, that solar panels should only be placed on fairly new roofing, so if your roof is older, you may want to consider getting a reliable, independent contractor to inspect your roof before planning solar panel installation. Or you could consider solar panels installed on the ground if you have space!
    7. Regulations around installing and using solar panels are rapidly evolving and can vary by municipality, county, and state. If you are part of a homeowners association, they may also have rules around solar energy use. Also, not everyone can afford to invest in the purchase of solar panels, or you may be renting your home.
    8. But as interest and support for solar energy increases, the laws, regulations, and costs are changing quickly. There are multiple state financial incentive programs that aim to increase solar energy use in Indiana homes. So take some time to contact your municipality to see how solar energy can be an option for you. And please make your voice heard and support the growth of solar energy use at both the local and state levels.
  6. Geothermal Energy
    1. Geothermal energy is produced using the Earth’s internal heat, and can be used to generate electricity and heat homes. Even some power plants run on geothermal energy. These power plants produce ninety-nine percent less carbon dioxide emissions than fossil fuel burning power plants. The difference between the two sources is astounding, strongly supporting more widespread use of geothermal energy. 
  7. Biomass
    1. Did you know that energy can be produced from everyday waste? Biomass includes organic material like agricultural crops, animal waste and human sewage, and even trees that have been damaged during storms.
    2. Biomass sources can be converted into energy through burning for heat, or can be converted to liquid or gaseous states for fuel. Because biomass is organic matter, it contains chemical energy from the sun, which is what gives it the right properties for energy production.
    3. It is important to note that the production and combustion of biomass fuel, or biogas, still releases greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide. Certain biomass products can be carbon neutral, such as plants that are grown for biomass capture; however, when biomass is used incorrectly, it can end up contributing to greenhouse gas emissions further.
    4. This means that the use of biogas is not entirely sustainable and is certainly not a long term solution, but it can be utilized until we find more sustainable options! In an agricultural state like Indiana, taking advantage of biofuel technologies has exciting potential.  And in the meantime, we can work to reduce biodegradable waste in our landfills and use waste efficiently by capturing biogas! If you want to learn more about waste management, please visit the Office of Sustainability website!
  8. Hydropower
    1. Hydropower generates electricity using the force of rushing water, and is the oldest source of electricity generation ever used. Because it uses moving water, hydropower does not contribute to air pollution through direct emissions. Hydropower generated over seven percent of electricity in the United States in 2020.
    2. While hydropower generates electricity without producing direct emissions, it still has negative environmental impacts, especially for rivers and the ecosystems they support. The addition of dams on a natural water source alters the aquatic ecosystems, sediment transport, and the hydrologic processes of that waterbody.
  9. Chart showing energy consumption in the US
    1. This chart shows energy consumption for the United States in 2020. As you can see, renewable energy is scarcely used compared to non-renewable resources. Fossil fuels are still the most widely used energy resources in the nation, with petroleum on top at over thirty-four percent. We hope that the numbers will steadily shift towards sustainable energy as we phase out the use of fossil fuels.
  10. Indiana’s energy issues
    1. In Indiana, we fueled over fifty-percent of our electricity using coal in 2020. Using coal has made sense for a long time because our state has abundant coal deposits, plus coal is relatively cheap and easy to use for electricity. Indiana is actually the nation's eighth largest coal producer.
    2. The map of Indiana here shows all locations of our coal-fired power plants. As you can see, coal is an important resource in Indiana, but it is an unsustainable resource that creates air, soil, and water pollution that disproportionately impacts local communities. This leads to many environmental justice issues around our state.
    3. Currently, sustainable energy use is low in Indiana, with our electricity generation sourced seven-percent from wind and two-percent from other renewable resources in 2020. Fortunately, the tides may be shifting as industry leaders like NIPSCO work to transition towards sustainable energy.
    4. Making sustainable energy choices is going to require a buy-in from industry as a critical step in the right direction. But we can’t forget our power as citizens and consumers. So how can we also make a positive impact and drive change in our daily lives?

Section 3: Doubling down on sustainable energy

  1. Section slide - Doubling Doen on Sustainable Energy
  2. Transportation sector
    1. In the United States, one of our greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is the transportation sector. Transportation produces the greatest amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the country, totaling thirty-six percent in 2020.
    2. That’s because the transportation sector relies almost exclusively on petroleum for fueling vehicles. Seeking out alternative options, like fuel efficient or electric vehicles, can make a huge difference in how much we depend on petroleum and how much carbon dioxide emissions we release during our daily commute. 
  3. Fuel efficient vehicles
    1. Fuel-efficient vehicles still rely on fossil fuels for power, but these vehicles use lower combustion engines to reduce harmful emissions. Fuel-efficient vehicles offer more mileage per gallon of fuel, making them both more sustainable and cost efficient.
    2. The EPA rates vehicles based on their emissions to determine their fuel efficiency and guide consumers. As different presidents and parties take over the White House, attitudes towards environmental matters, like fuel efficiency standards, change.
    3. During the Obama administration, for example, federal fuel efficiency standards were strict with optimistic goals of greatly decreasing transportation emissions by 2025. Once the Trump administration took over, however, fuel efficiency standards were rolled back, enticing some motor companies to ease their standards, while other industry leaders continued development of high-efficiency vehicles and pushed for the wider use of better technology like hybrid and electric vehicles.
    4. Because of the nation’s ever-changing political atmosphere, fuel efficiency standards are always under debate, so it's up to consumers and industry leaders to drive demand and progress.
  4. Electric vehicles
    1. Arguably the most sustainable vehicle option in terms of carbon dioxide emissions is the electric vehicle. Electric vehicle motors release almost no air pollutants, as electricity is used to directly power the vehicle’s battery for either all or a portion of the total miles traveled.
    2. Sustainability is about more than just carbon dioxide emissions, and many environmentalists are concerned about the cradle-to-grave impacts of lithium batteries. Lithium is a limited resource, and deposits are not widely available in the US. The technology of the lithium batteries in electric vehicles limits how far the vehicles can travel before needing a recharge.
    3. Fortunately, recharge only requires a charging station that will replenish the vehicle with electricity instead of fossil fuels. A major challenge ahead of us is to provide the local, statewide, and national infrastructure needed to support charging of plug-in-hybrid vehicles or fully electric vehicles. But rest assured, it is coming.
    4. The exciting part is how the number of options for vehicles is increasing. Most of us can’t afford a fully electric vehicle, or the options that are currently available don’t fully fit our lifestyles. Plug-in electric vehicles can allow users to reduce emissions and drive clean for all or part of their daily travels. Hybrid vehicles can rely on existing fossil fuel infrastructure while being more field efficient and less polluting.  
  5. Fuel cell vehicles - hydrogen powered
    1. One exciting innovation in development in the technology world is the fuel cell vehicle, which is powered by hydrogen produced from electricity. Fuel cell vehicles offer high power-generation efficiency, while also producing zero harmful emissions! The fuel cell vehicle only releases water and warm air, completely cutting out carbon dioxide emissions! Fuel cell vehicles are still a work in progress, so they are not widely available to the public. But isn’t it exciting to see our options expanding? 

Section 4: Energy Use At Home & On Campus

  1. Section Slide - Energy Use at Home and On Campus
  2. Take action at home
    1. We’ll start with an easy first step. Taking action to reduce your energy consumption at home can start with simply changing your lightbulbs. LED light bulbs are ninety-percent more efficient at producing light than traditional light bulbs, and they are longer-lasting, which will save energy when your lights are on. So, one quick and easy energy-saving goal would be to switch all lights in your home to LED light bulbs.
    2. Another great innovation for reducing energy consumption is smart sensor technology. Smart sensors activate lights only after having detected movement, and activate thermostats based on indoor temperatures. Smart sensors are a great way to conserve energy when away from home!
  3. NIPSCO Green Energy Plan
    1. Another great program from NIPSCO that is actively encouraging Indiana residents and businesses to incorporate renewable resources into their electricity consumption is the Green Power program. 
    2. With the NIPSCO Green Power program, customers can choose between twenty-five, fifty, or one-hundred percent renewable energy use to be designated into their electricity plans at home. Businesses have these options as well, with the additional choices of five or ten percent renewable energy designation.
    3. As you can see from this chart, the monthly cost incurred for incorporating renewable energy into your electricity plan is customizable to offer more affordable options! To calculate what your monthly electricity charges would be with this program, just multiply the percentage of green power you chose, your monthly kilowatt-hour usage, and the surcharge or premium of the percentage you chose.
    4. This plan can be tailored to businesses and institutions. Local industrial facilities, like Cleveland Cliffs Steel Mill, are actively participating in this program! If NIPSCO achieves its goal of shifting to green energy sources for electricity, we could all be at net zero carbon emissions from electricity by 2030! But for now, institutions like IUN have the option to buy into NIPSCO’s Green Power Program as a cost-effective, sustainable option for incorporating renewable energy use on campus! And thanks to energy-saving projects that continue to gain traction on campus, the money we save from lowering our energy consumption could be put towards furthering our sustainable energy efforts!
    5. For more information on how to conduct an energy use audit or options for increasing your home’s energy efficiency and reducing your carbon footprint, please contact your local energy provider. If you’re in Northwest Indiana, that would be NIPSCO.
  4. Take action at IUN
    1. We are already actively working to reduce our energy consumption at IUN! On our campus, outdoor lighting is completely equipped with high efficiency LED light bulbs and smart sensors that activate the lights after detecting movement. As of January of 2022, seventy-eight percent of our campus buildings were fully converted to LED lighting. Once construction is completed on Hawthorne Hall, one-hundred percent of our LED lighting on campus will be energy efficient. 
  5. IUN Building Conversions Increase Energy Efficiency
    1. At IUN, we are completing building conversion projects to further conserve our energy and reduce consumption. Currently, our heating units are powered using natural gas, and our cooling units are powered with electricity.
    2. In 2022, Hawthorne Hall was in the process of having heat generation converted from electricity-powered to gas. The idea behind an HVAC conversion is that heating and cooling will be more efficient and increased sealing with high efficiency windows will maintain building temperatures and reduce overall energy use. Hawthorne Hall was also the last building to require the installation of LED lighting and occupancy sensors. 
    3. In recent years, Anderson Library underwent similar building conversions, with electric to gas conversion for heating. The building’s heating and cooling efficiency was also upgraded.
    4. In 2020 Marram Hall underwent window replacement and resealing and new LED lights were installed along with smart sensor technology.
  6. Why Building Conversions?
    1. So you may be wondering, why are building conversions so important? Well, there are a number of reasons why.
    2. Converting to natural gas is often considered more sustainable than relying on coal-generated electricity because natural gas burns cleaner, producing less waste and particulate matter. Burning natural gas will overall decrease greenhouse gas emissions on campus.
    3. While the cost of infrastructure change is expensive initially, our campus will likely save money by switching to natural gas. It is much cheaper to heat a building with gas rather than electricity. As for switching to LED lighting, LEDs last longer and use less energy.
    4. It can be difficult to talk about cost savings when it comes to energy because the price of utilities fluctuates yearly. But any increases in energy efficiency will ultimately save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    5. We don’t want to ignore the drawbacks of shifting to natural gas. Even though natural gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, infrastructure sourced by natural gas cannot utilize green energy like solar, wind or geothermal options. Going forward we will need to get creative about where we can increase efficiency and integrate clean energy options to offset the use of natural gas. New technologies are also emerging for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of natural gas.
  7. UITS: A Leader In Energy Efficiency
    1. The University Information Technology Services office, or UITS, is one example of a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency at IUN. UITS does a lot for our campus, and many of their projects involve transitioning to more sustainable technologies and reducing waste.  Here are just a few examples:
    2. In 2022, 60 lamp-based projectors were replaced with energy-efficient laser projectors that consume 60% less power and rely on more efficient lamps which reduce energy use and waste.
    3. UITS sets equipment power settings to reduce power consumption during periods of inactivity. Reducing power consumption by idle devices by up to 85% when not in use. So turn that equipment off when you’re done!
    4. UITS-NW is one the few IU campuses to utilize GovDeals for the sale of old equipment that would otherwise have been sent to recycling or landfill. In its first four years, the program diverted approximately ten tons of equipment from recycling or landfill disposal! When possible, UITS-NW also utilizes bulk packaging options to reduce waste.
    5. When equipment does reach its end of life, UITS utilizes responsible vendors for all e-waste to ensure responsible disposal of all electronics at end of life.
  8. What Can the Campus Community Do to Help Conserve Energy?
    1. When on campus, we can all do our part to reduce our own energy consumption. We can start by always remembering to power down computers, equipment, and appliances when we aren’t using them at home or on the campus. Similarly, we should always turn off the lights when we don’t need them. We can even reduce the amount of individual appliances we use to save energy!
    2. We can take simple steps like walking up the stairs rather than taking the elevator to save energy. We should also make sure that all outside and hallway doors are closed to keep energy for heating or cooling inside the building.
    3. Lastly, another big tip from the Facilities staff is to avoid using individual space heaters! Space heaters utilize a lot of energy and are dangerous fire hazards.
  9. What we should be doing
    1. It’s important to note that the opportunities for energy efficiency are rapidly changing as technology, interest, and funding increases. Here are just some steps that IUN can take to move towards sustainable energy use. We can start with the use of electric vehicles. It's essential to increase electric charging options and vehicle use on campus. To do so, we can phase-out fossil fuel-burning campus vehicles, like the police department vehicles, for more efficient models.
    2. As of 2020, IUN had two level 2 charging stations with four ports in the main parking lot, as well as 110 outlets embedded in the light posts in the parking lot of the College of Arts and Sciences building at 35th and Broadway.
    3. We want to create opportunities to expand the use of electric vehicle charging stations on campus. The challenge is to find a charging model that matches cost with demand. If students, staff and faculty demonstrate an increased demand for electric vehicle charging stations, IUN could become a leader for other commuter campuses in providing support for a sustainable commuting lifestyle!
  10. Goal & Plan
    1. Our goal as individuals, communities, and on campus must be to become leaders in sustainable and clean energy use! To accomplish this, we must encourage the early adoption mindset for energy technology and always invite innovative ideas for integrating clean energy options on campus and in our communities!
  11. Closing Slide
    1. For more information on our dedication to developing sustainable energy at IUN, please visit the Office of Sustainability website!