BSU receives energy rebate

Bemidji State University recently received over $320,000 in energy efficiency rebates from Otter Tail Power as part of the Conservation Improvement Program.

According to BSU director of facilities Travis Barnes, the rebate will help BSU continue to pursue energy efficiency projects across campus.

“We will be taking these dollars and reinvesting them into other projects,” he said. “And we want to be sure that we are continuing to pursue projects that will help us keep this going for as long as Otter Tail has a rebate program.”

Many of these projects involved conversions of campus light sources to LEDs.

In the past two years, BSU has installed more than 12,000 four-foot LED lights, converting nearly 40 percent of campus interior lighting to LED.

Barnes said one of the first projects BSU aims to tackle with the rebate funding is conversion of the BSU Gymnasium to LED lighting, a project expected to cost around $100,000.

While the energy savings provide obvious financial and environmental benefits for the campus, Barnes said the projects done over the last two years are helping set the stage for larger projects in the future.

“If we want to put solar panels onto a building, it doesn’t make sense to do that if the building has inefficient lighting and outdated electrical control systems,” he said. “These projects are creating the infrastructure that will make larger projects feasible in the future.”

The Gillett Wellness Center has reduced energy usage by more than 400,000 kilowatts each year, saving the university more than $34,000 a year in energy costs.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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