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Campuses like UW Oshkosh use a lot of energy for electricity, heating, cooling, and transportation. We are committed to energy management strategies that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and reduce reliance on foreign energy. Energy conservation is our first commitment, because it reduces the amount of energy we need to do what we do. In today’s economy the cheapest kilowatts and therms are the ones you don’t use. For example, our Academic Computing Department activated sleep features on 2,900 computers, saving us both energy and money.

   Our Strategy

  • Perform upgrades and retrofits of building systems to improve energy efficiency
  • Construct new buildings and renovate existing buildings with energy efficiency in mind (see Green Buildings)
  • Produce renewable energy on campus
  • Purchase renewable energy through renewable energy credits (RECs)

   Upgrade and Retrofit Buildings

UW Oshkosh has committed to the statewide program designed to increase energy efficiency and provide other economic and environmental benefits. All work is performed and paid for by the contractor and payments are made through energy savings or performance contracts. Energy savings as a result of performance contracts is now above 20% — meaning that our energy use dropped by more than 20% from the pre-contract year. Phase I was finished in 2009 and we invested $187,317. Phases II & III were finished in January of 2013 and we invested $95,369. Phase IV has been underway since Fall 2015 and is focused on the Halsey science building, especially fume hoods.

   UW-Oshkosh Energy and Resource Saving Projects

  • Lighting Retrofits/Upgrades
    • T-8’s & Electronic Ballasts (2001)
    • Classroom/conference room motion sensors (2001)
    • Field House sporting upgrades (2006)
    • Student Union upgrades (2006)
    • LED Lighting (2010-11)
    • Pool light (2010-11)
  • Water Conservation: (See Water) 
  • Control Modifications
    • Pumps and Converters (2001)
    • Metasys Trunk (2006)
    • Condenser water reset control  (2006)
  • Water-Cooled Refrigeration/Air Conditioning Retrofit (2006)
  • Steam Trap Efficiency
    • Repair/Replacement (2001)
  • Campus Metering
    • Separate meters for all buildings (2006)
  • HVAC System Upgrades/Re-commissioning
    • Supply fan speed reduction (2010-11)
    • Constant volume to VAV retrofit (2010-11)
  • Bas Upgrades
    • Pneumatic to DDC (2010-11)
  • Renewable Energy
    • Solar Thermal (2010-11)
    • Solar Photovoltaics (2010-11)

   On Campus Renewable Energy Production

Wind Power

  • Energy produced by wind makes up the majority of power acquired through green power purchases (16% of total consumption)

Solar Power

In 2010, UW Oshkosh installed the first photovoltaic panels to generate electricity on campus. To date, we have solar installations on the following buildings:

  • Albee Hall
    • Solar Thermal: 64 panels, 7,692 Therms/year
    • Heat the indoor swimming pool
  • Blackhawk Commons
    • Solar Thermal: 24 panels, 1,878 Therms/year
    • Hot water for dishwashers and taps
  • Sage Hall
    • Solar Thermal: 60 panels, 4,745 Therms/year
    • Photovoltaic (PV): 188 rooftop panels, 46,000 kWh/year
    • Three pole-mounted PV tracking arrays, each unit = 2.5 kW
  • Student Success Center
    • Photovoltaic (PV): 20 kW
  • Taylor Residence Hall
    • Solar Thermal: 16 panels, 1,300 Therms/year
    • Hot water
  • Heating Plant
    • Solar Thermal: 16 panels, 1,910 Therms/year
    • Pre-heat the water that is heated by the furnaces for steam to heat campus buildings


  • Student Success Center: geothermal energy from 65 vertical wells provides all heating and cooling for the building
  • Horizon Village: up to 60% of the building’s heating and cooling comes from the geothermal system that includes 56 vertical wells


Click here to learn more about our biogas program or to request a tour.

Dry Fermentation Anaerobic Digester (BD1)

  • First of its kind in North America
  • Dry biodigesters use fewer resources such as water which reduces impact
  • Located on campus, the plant produces methane gas from organic wastes including food, municipal yards waste, and farm bedding
  • Food wastes from campus cafeterias are diverted from landfills to this facility
  • BD1 processes more than 11,000 tons of organic waste annually
  • At full capacity, the plant is equipped generate 10% of campus electricity needs
  • Thermal energy will heat Facilities Services, saving campus $20,000/year

Small Farm Digester (Allen Farms)

  • The Allen Farms digester uses the manure from 135 cows and other farm waste to make methane gas to generate electricity and thermal heat
  • This facility generates 64 kWh of electricity and thermal energy to power and heat the farm
  • The technology may be scaled to suit small to medium sized farms of various sizes
  • A recent grant from the USDA is being used to educate regional farmers about the technology in hopes of increasing the numbers of such facilities in the state of Wisconsin and the country

Large Farm Wet Digester (Rosendale Digester)

  • Located at Rosendale Dairy, Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm
  • From the manure of 9,000 cows, the facility uses 110,000 tons of manure annually to make methane gas
  • Electricity produced from a 1.4 MW generator is sold to Alliant Energy and is equipped to generate 40% of UWO’s electricity needs
  • Learn more about carbon credits from this digester

   Renewable Energy Purchases

On May 13, 2003 UW-Oshkosh became the first Wisconsin university to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership, a commitment to purchase alternative energy. 

  • Presented with an EPA Leadership award (2003)

 In 2006, UWO increased its annual green power commitment from 4% to 11% of total power purchased

  • Purchase was equivalent to 288,800 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month for 12 months
  • Today, 16% of total power purchased comes from renewable sources, mostly wind

Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations


UW Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Contact Info:

(920) 424-0440
SIRT Office: 4483 Sage Hall