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Secretary Chu visits Delaware State University to commemorate the school's efforts with the Better Buildings Initiative.

Secretary Chu visits Delaware State University to commemorate the school's efforts with the Better Buildings Initiative.

In February 2011, President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative to make commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020 and accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency. Delaware State University (DSU) was selected as one of the first university partners in the United States to join this initiative, committing to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2015, investing in energy efficiency improvements that will impact over two million square feet of the school’s campus.

Earlier this week I was able to join in DSU’s kickoff program with Secretary Chu, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Representative John Carney, and Delaware State University President Harry Williams at Delaware State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

Since joining the Better Buildings Challenge, DSU has taken a unique approach to their efficiency efforts. The school is working with Johnson Controls to perform an intense energy audit, determining what improvements could be taken in 26 buildings that would reduce energy costs and greenhouse gases. After the cost of the initial investment, DSU is expected to realize over $5.2 million to benefit the school and its students.

I’m excited for the students at Delaware State University. They’ll be able to see energy retrofits in action, with a behind-the-scenes look at the process from start to finish. As an 1890 land-grant institution, DSU serves a diverse population, and is a training ground for students who are the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) innovators. The university’s students and leaders are championing energy efficiency – and they will be part of the groundbreaking diversity in STEM that we need to see to meet the nation’s energy challenges.