Northland College received $75,000 for installing 23 new energy-efficient boilers in nine campus facilities from FOCUS ON ENERGY®. These upgrades would not be possible without financial funding, including a 0% interest, five-year term loan.
This private liberal arts college in Ashland, Wisconsin, is devoted to sustainability through its social, economic, and environmental approaches. Because of this commitment to ecological prosperity, Northland College works hard to ensure its facilities follow this same ethos regarding operation and maintenance practices.
Before these boiler upgrades, Northland College completed several energy-efficient improvements with the assistance of Focus on Energy and their utility, Xcel Energy. These projects include investing in LED lighting and controls, performing boiler tune-ups, and installing a photovoltaic solar array system. Other projects were also completed with support from an Energy Innovation Grant from the Public Service Commission, including geothermal and heating/cooling upgrades.
“Energy costs are one of the biggest expenses at our school,” commented Todd Pydo, Executive Director of Information Technology and Facilities at Northland College. “Northland College spends approximately $700,000 per year on gas and electricity costs. We always try to pursue energy efficiency.”
The existing boilers were approximately 20 years old, and Northland College had planned to upgrade the equipment for many years. Keeping in regular contact with its Focus on Energy Advisor and Xcel Energy representative, Northland College is aware of new incentives and grant opportunities to help achieve its sustainable mission.
Northland College secured a Focus on Energy Competitive Incentive RFP to complete this project. This RFP was available to customers in 2022 and 2023 who need support beyond typical financial incentives. In addition, Northland College was awarded the Technology Investment Fund Loan through CleanTech Partners. This special funding gives select businesses and organizations access to 0% interest rates with the flexibility to repay five years later.
Northland College also worked closely with Focus on Energy Trade Ally, Blakeman Plumbing and Heating Inc. to ensure they selected energy-efficient equipment that would qualify for financial incentives. By choosing equipment with 95% efficiency and modulating controls, Northland College can easily adjust heating needs throughout multiple buildings on campus.
President of Northland College, Chad Dayton, expressed enthusiasm about these upgrades, stating, "We are incredibly grateful for the support and recognition we have received from Focus on Energy and Xcel Energy. This project will enable us to expedite our transition to a more sustainable campus and amplify our positive impact on the environment. By embracing energy efficiency, we hope to inspire other educational institutions and communities to take action for a greener future."
This significant financial incentive represents a major step in achieving Northland College’s sustainability goals. With 25,764 therms savings in the first year, it is estimated to save upwards of $19,000 annually on utility bills. This is the equivalent of reducing energy use from 17 homes for an entire year.
About Northland College
Northland College is a private environmental liberal arts college located just blocks away from Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin. Founded in 1892, the College adopted a bold new mission and made history in 1974 as the first college in the country to fully integrate an environmental focus with its liberal arts curriculum. Today, Northland College is a powerful and intimate learning community of about 500 students from across the United States and beyond.