LOUISVILLE, Ky.–A joint project between University of Louisville and Siemens has saved UofL $12.9 million in energy costs in just over four years and has paid even larger economic dividends for the region.
That’s the bottom line of a study conducted by Economic Development Research Group, a Boston-based research company Siemens hired to assess the overall economic impact of the project.
Since 2009, UofL has spent $46 million to reduce energy use on its three campuses through contracts with Siemens’ Building Technologies Division. This spending on labor and materials supported $33.5 million in wages, $25.8 million in business sales and 613 jobs in the Louisville metropolitan area, a 12-county region anchored by Jefferson County, the study found.
The project has saved utility and other costs by improving energy and operational efficiency in 88 campus buildings. Over the lifetime of the improvements these savings will not only pay for up-front costs but also provide additional savings that can be reinvested by the university, resulting in impacts in the broader Louisville community.
From 2009 to the end of 2013, reinvestment of UofL’s $5.2 million net gain from its work with Siemens led to another 71 jobs and $9.3 million in sales. Going forward, each year of cost-savings will continue to generate local economic impacts, researchers said.
“This study documents how becoming more energy-efficient can save money, improve the environment and benefit the local economy – all at the same time,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “We’re pleased to see that our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint also are improving our community’s economic health.”
UofL trustees voted in February to spend another $10 million to expand the project. This will allow for additional infrastructure improvements, including a new $1 million bulk sterilizer installation at the downtown Health Sciences Center, LED lighting in the football stadium parking lots and the indoor tennis center, and various building improvements.
“Siemens and University of Louisville have a long-standing relationship that goes well beyond simply helping to reduce energy usage and conserve water,” said Dave Hopping, president of Siemens’ North American-based Building Technologies Division. “By combining our areas of expertise, we’ve created a campus environment that is more comfortable for students, faculty and staff. Additionally, the technology improvements made have indirectly helped create hundreds of jobs in the Louisville metropolitan area.”
Researchers prepared the study using IMPLAN, an economic modeling system used by more than 500 U.S. public and private agencies. The system uses economic data specific to certain industries and regions to translate direct economic effects into spinoff effects.