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staff in front of solar panel

A $1 million investment in energy-related capital equipment at UW-Fond du Lac during 2015 will mean improved energy efficiencies, significant utility cost savings and educational opportunities for students and the community.

“In exchange for the $346,000 invested by the county, we received $1.1 million in capital equipment improvements,” said Allen Buechel, Fond du Lac County Executive. “The county’s investment also shortened the payback period of the project.”The project is funded through the estimated future net savings of $47,000 per year in utility costs along with an investment of $346,000 from Fond du Lac County, which owns and maintains the buildings on the UW-Fond du Lac campus.

A solar panel installed during this project is not only a source of renewable energy, it also provides learning opportunities. Science professors are already utilizing it in their courses and an educational energy kiosk installed in the University Center Commons displays the solar panel output in real time and the total energy savings being seen at UW-Fond du Lac.

The most significant part of the energy project was replacement of three existing chillers with one central chiller/bank system. The replacement of these units which cool the campus buildings was a major capital upgrade to aging equipment and resulted in a solution that meets the future needs of the campus while saving energy. Improvements were also made to lighting, power management, building insulation and water usage.

“Replacing older equipment to improve energy efficiency isn’t anything new,” said John Short, UW-Fond du Lac Dean and CEO during the project. “What’s unique is the ability to use future savings in utility costs to pay for the improvements and take advantage of new technologies. This means there was no additional state taxpayer cost for these improvements.”

The public/private partnership between Fond du Lac County, H&H Energy Management and the university was made possible through a State of Wisconsin energy savings performance contract. 


Laurie Krasin