FLORENCE — The University of North Alabama is embarking on an energy savings plan that will involve nearly every building on campus.
University officials are partnering with Scheider Electric, an energy and sustainability company that modernizes facilities by using energy-efficient technologies and programs.
The university is spending $17 million on the project, which is expected to reduce campus energy costs by 20 percent by 2020. The guaranteed savings over a 20-year period is $24 million with $26 million expected.
Evan Thornton, vice president of Business Affairs at UNA, said Schneider Electric is essentially "doing all the things we'd be having to do for renovation and construction to get the buildings up to their most efficient standards."
The project is expected to take 22 months to complete, starting this month with the re-roofing of Wesleyan Hall, according to Michael Gautney, assistant vice president of Facilities. He said there are about 70 facilities campus-wide that will get improvements.
The projects across campus range from new LED lighting at Flowers Hall and all other buildings to replacing air conditioning throughout Guillot University Center.
Thornton said some of the greatest savings will be realized in the parking garage with the installation of sensors.
Facilities like the parking deck, as well as the new science building, are getting upgrades that even as few as five years ago weren't available.
"Safety will continue to be the major factor for us in the projects we undertake," Thornton said.
Buildings such as LaGrange Hall and the math building won't be a part of the energy upgrades because of major renovation or other construction already planned for those facilities.
Schneider Electric Vice President Tammy Fulop said striking a balance between the history of the buildings on the UNA campus and modernizing them is the goal.
"As Alabama's oldest four-year public university, UNA has some of the most unique historic buildings in the state, as well as some of the newest and most technologically advanced," she said.