Mississippi College

Mississippi College Reports Energy Savings of $323,806

August 23, 2013

Mississippi College saved a hefty $323,806 on its energy bills this past year, but university leaders are making an even bigger push to top that mark when June 2014 rolls around.

An award-winning professor for decades, MC energy education specialist Tom Williams says his goal is to achieve a $400,000 savings next year. “That’s pretty ambitious.”

But the university’s “energy czar” is optimistic the goal is within reach as long as Mississippi College faculty and staff members remain committed to the task.

The biggest need, Williams said, is to “make sure we are not heating and cooling buildings that are unoccupied.”

Williams presented a check to President Lee Royce on Friday showing the sizeable chunk of money in energy savings between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

The cash is coming in handy at the Baptist-affiliated university that’s home to more than 500 employees, over 5,000 students and an annual budget exceeding $72 million.

The money to pay energy bills comes from the operating budget, Williams said. “The less money we spend on energy bills, the more money we have for scholarships, salaries, new positions and departmental expenses.”

MC’s energy savings level is about 15 percent. The university’s energy consultant, the Cenergistic, believes universities and colleges can save 20 percent due to conservation efforts.

Founded in 1986, Cenergistic (formerly Energy Education, Inc.), works with over 1,200 clients nationwide, including public schools, colleges and universities. The company assists campus leaders at more than 20,000 facilities.

Williams enjoys rewarding MC employees who are energy conscious. It could be for turning off the lights when one leaves the office, or shutting down computers at night. He leaves small pieces of chocolate candy on desks along with a thank you note.

“Let’s hear it for Tom,” Royce said during Friday’s convocation speech to Mississippi College professors, staffers, student leaders and guests at Swor Auditorium. “We want those chocolates!,” he joked.

But all kidding aside, Royce and other leaders are pleased with the progress to achieve energy savings.

“Tom has done an extraordinary job spearheading the program,” said Steve Stanford, vice president for administration and government affairs. “He has demonstrated a unique ability of educating and communicating with faculty and staff to gain their support, help and involvement.”

MC surpassed its first-year goal, but will seek additional savings opportunities. The university wants to achieve more savings, Stanford said, “that can be better invested in impacting students and our university’s mission.”

Williams will keep offering words of encouragement and his rewards system. “I think the reminders with or without candy have made faculty and staff more aware of energy conservation,” he said. “I hope to continue office audits this fall.”

A former Callaway High principal in Jackson, he likes tossing out facts to “green thinking” faculty and staff. “Our energy reduction impact is 1,728 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide,” he said. “This is equivalent to taking 310 passenger cars off the road for one year or having 44,206 tree seedlings grown for ten years.”

The Madison resident aims to cut MC energy bills by $6 million over the next seven years.

The former chairman of MC’s teacher education leadership department, Williams was named the university’s first energy education specialist in 2012. His energy-savings efforts span the Clinton campus, the School of Law and the Flowood Center.

Williams welcomes suggestions. Some people have called for turning lights off on the Quad at certain hours. Lights in some buildings shouldn’t stay on around the clock, others say.

New construction on the Clinton campus helped make his job easier. Opened in January 2013, MC’s 22,000-square foot medical sciences building uses the latest technology and that translates into energy savings.

For more information, contact Tom Williams at 601.925.3844 or twilliams@mc.edu.

Photo: Garrett Self, a facilities consultant with Cenergistic, joins MC President Lee Royce, Vice President for Administration and Government Relations Steve Stanford, and energy education specialist Tom Williams at an event Friday noting the university's $323,806 energy savings during the past year.

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