Public Sector


Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

The Opportunity

EMU in Ypsilanti had several goals in mind when it decided to update four campus dormitories and two dining halls: make the spaces more efficient to operate and more comfortable for students and faculty. With the help of OpTerra, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) was able to achieve their goals with the implementation of a $6.6 million design build project.

OpTerra recognized EMU’s opportunity to deliver efficient and renewable energy projects that would meet their environmental goals. With the partnership of OpTerra, EMU was able to make facility upgrades that resulted in reducing the energy budget by several million dollars of the life of the program.

The Partnership

OpTerra installed a new boiler plant to replace a failing system that was wasting thousands of gallons of heated water, and converted dormitories from a steam system to a hot water system, putting thermostats in each room for optimum heat control and comfort of students.

The Impact

As a result of this project, EMU was awarded the Energy Services Coalition’s Annual Energy Efficiency Project Award in 2012. Energy efficiency experts from a wide range of organizations gathered at the Energy Services Coalition Michigan Chapter Inaugural Event to award a cross-section of statewide entities, ranging from K-12 schools to colleges, counties and state government for their commitment to energy efficiency and performance contracting across Michigan. Following the implementation of the project, EMU was also named one of the top green colleges in the country by the Princeton Review, and has since then continued to pioneer environmental change, becoming a model for other colleges and universities across the nation.

The Technical Scope

  • New/replacement boilers
  • Building envelope and air handling improvements
  • Improved energy management systems
  • Retrofit of 727 modernized, energy efficient windows
  • Improved water heater performance
  • Fuel conversion
  • Thermostat controls
  • Industrial kitchen appliance upgrades