WASHINGTON –   Today, the U.S. Department of Energy released its second video in the “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series featuring investments by the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMN-Morris) in clean energy that are benefitting local residents and workers.  UMN-Morris is working to reduce their energy waste and deploy clean, renewable energy projects throughout the community.

 “The University of Minnesota, Morris is a perfect example of how local institutions and communities can help lead the way in making sure that America wins the global clean energy race, while creating good local jobs and protecting the environment” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. 

UMN-Morris is nationally recognized for collegiate involvement in sustainability initiatives through its membership in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, American Council of Renewable Energy, Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  These programs have had broad impacts not only on the university campus, but also in the community as a whole.

UMN-Morris is committed to using renewable energy technologies to power its institution.  Two 1.65 megawatt wind turbines produce enough power annually to provide about 60 percent of the campus’s electrical needs.  The first turbine, operated by the West Central Research and Outreach Center, began generating power in 2005 and the second turbine, operated by the UMN-Morris, in 2011. UMN-Morris also purchases 3,000 tons of corn cobs annually to use in its biomass plant which helps provide heating and cooling for over 150 days at full production or considerably longer during lower heating and cooling demands.  All of the corn is purchased from local farms, providing an additional income as high as $240,000 to the local economy.  The Regional Fitness Center—a campus community partnership fitness center serving UMN-Morris, the City of Morris, Stevens County, and the Morris Area Schools—swimming pool is heated using 32 solar thermal arrays avoiding about 30,000 pounds of CO2 a year.  The Welcome Center, certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold, is the first building in Minnesota and the first building listed on the National Register of Historic Places to use energy efficient chilled beam technology. UMN-Morris also created an Office of Sustainability that helps the college prioritize projects to meet its goals.

"Being first has not always been easy. But taking risks, discovering new knowledge--that's part of the mission of higher education. Morris's commitment to sustainability is a product of our culture and values. It is rooted in the campus's history and its relationship to the land." say Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson. "Morris students-and alumni, too--care about ideas and knowledge, but that's not enough for them. They want to take their ideas and ideals and make something happen."

The Energy Department is committed to supporting communities like Morris as they invest in clean renewable energy that reduces carbon pollution, creates local jobs and helps to drive local economies.  This series will help connect and feature our small communities nationwide that are investing in clean energy and playing a role in making sure the United States leads the world in the global race for the green jobs of the future.