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University continues energy-saving partnership

Carson-Newman Chief Financial Officer Martha Chambers, seated left, and Appalachian Electric Cooperative’s Mitch Cain, seated right, sign a contract renewing the school’s participation in AEC’s power shedding program. They are joined by Carson-Newman Director of Physical Plant and Construction Manager Ondes Webster and AEC’s LeAnn Sutton.

(Oct. 23, 2015) — Carson-Newman University is continuing its partnership with Appalachian Electric Cooperative for the “Demand Response Program for Commercial and Industry” throughout the 2015-2016, signing a new contract Tuesday, Oct. 13.

This is Carson-Newman’s third year in the program. AEC Director of Member Services Mitch Cain says Carson-Newman has been at the forefront of the program with a vision for sustainability and stewardship.

“The program was designed to help alleviate the peak of electric demand, so in the summer when everyone wants to turn up the air, and in the winter when everyone wants to turn up the heat, we can lower that call for electricity,” Cain says. “It’s a small program, but it has made a significant difference.”

As part of the “Demand Response Program,” Cain says AEC can call upon Carson-Newman to reduce its energy output when the demand for energy is high. In the past year Carson-Newman has shed a total of 1,907 kW, which is more than the 1,400 kW it was nominated to shed.

The goal is always to be a good steward,” says Ondes Webster, Carson-Newman director of physical plant and construction manger. “That’s the reason we do this. If we don’t do this, everyone’s electric bills could go up.”

Carson-Newman receives a credit to its energy bill based on the energy it saves in the program. Carson-Newman Chief Financial Officer Martha Chambers says the University did better than expected and received a check for the savings.

“The savings allow us to invest further in our sustainability goals,” Chambers says. “The check helped us continue on our mission to replace burned out lights with LED bulbs, which last longer and don’t use as much electricity.”

The University was able to install LED lights in its Maddox Student Activities Center and parking lot of Ted Russell Hall as a continuation of its sustainability efforts.

Cain says the past two years have been full of success with some trial-and-error, but he believes the program will be better than ever this year.

“During the pilot, the purpose was to tweak and figure out what’s effective for the University and what’s effective for the power grid,” Cain says. “Now we feel like we’ve got a pretty good control over that, so now we’re maximizing the efficiency.“

Carson-Newman was the first partner to sign on for the program in 2013, and remains the only school in Tennessee to participate.

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