From Kevin’s Desk: Happy Earth Day! (04/21/17)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

Our work to Make Blue Go sustainably is central to our strategic goal of stewardship. In honor of this Saturday’s Earth Day celebration, I want to share a few ways that B&F is helping to lead the university’s sustainability efforts.

We are in the early stages of two major upgrades to the Central Power Plant (CPP) on East Huron, which provides steam and hot water for the Central and Medical Campuses and about half the electricity for the Central and South Campuses. The first upgrade is a $23-million project to replace the existing 13,200-volt electrical switchgear equipment. The upgrade will provide back-up power should DTE, who also provides power to parts of the campus, experience problems. It will also improve safety for our workers.

The second upgrade is the purchase of a 15-megawatt combustion turbine and an expansion of the CPP. This $80-million project will enable us to provide a greater percentage of power to our Central and South Campuses. But the most exciting aspect of the turbine is that it will reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 100,000 tons per year getting us nearly halfway to our 2025 sustainability goal! What great news and just in time for Earth Day!

Please join me in thanking the entire team for their leadership in developing these projects. The folks who operate the Central Power Plant and those who drive our Planet Blue program are only some examples of our campus heroes who work day-to-day very much behind the scenes to make all of us comfortable, safe and proud to be part of this wonderful university.

On a last sustainability note, U-M collected more than 1.3 million pounds of recyclables during the recent eight-week RecycleMania competition, coordinated by our B&F colleagues in the Office of Sustainability. Not only is this an amazing result, it’s a terrific reminder that the small decisions we make each day – to recycle, to walk or take the bus, to compost – can significantly reduce our impact on the planet. Thanks for all you do.

With much appreciation and gratitude,