Skip to Main Content
Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
navigation icon opens header SALISBURY UNIVERSITY

Sustainability @ SU
navigation icon opens menu

Energy - Conservation & Renewables

Top view of Solar Parking lot                     Underneath view of Solar parking lot

At a Glance

Salisbury University strives to improve the efficiency of existing buildings and to integrate renewable energy technologies on campus.   For example:

  • SU installed occupancy sensors in many offices, meeting spaces and classrooms to reduce lighting energy consumption when these spaces are not occupied.  These sensors are now a standard feature for all LEED building projects.
  • In 2007, a campuswide energy service contract (ESCO) was initiated which replaced lighting, plumbing fixtures, pumps, chillers and other aging infrastructure with more efficient equipment.   The project resulted in significant utility reductions including electricity, natural gas, heating oil and water. 
  • A solar hot water system was installed on the roof of Nanticoke Hall during the major renovation in 2011.
  • Geothermal heating/cooling systems were installed in three residence halls: Wicomico Hall, Manokin Hall and Nanticoke Hall. These systems have reduced energy consumption by approximately 30% compared to conventional HVAC systems.  
  • In 2017, a photovoltaic solar array was installed in College Avenue Parking Lot H.
  • SU purchases renewable energy from solar, wind, and landfill gas to electricity generation  projects.
  • SU completed an energy service contract (ESCO) which included a variety of energy conserving projects with guaranteed energy savings of at least $300,000 per year.
  • An energy manager controls and optimizes building HVAC systems using an electronic building automation system

Learn More:

Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Solar Array

The Parking Lot H solar photovoltaic carport was installed in 2017.  It generates approximately 765,000 kilowatt hours annually and includes five electric vehicle charging stations. Avoided carbon dioxide emissions translates to approximately 509 acres of trees planted or 261 metric tons of unconsumed coal.  View historic and real-time power generation data.

Occupancy sensors

As an energy saving initiative, occupancy sensors are a standard feature in all new construction and major renovations. These sensors automatically turn lights off after an area is unoccupied for a set period of time. Occupancy sensors are estimated to produce a savings of 30%, and are especially effective in areas which have frequent periods of inactivity. Sensors are now a standard feature in new construction projects and major renovations and may be observed throughout the campus.

Nanticoke Hot Water Solar Array

A solar hot water array was installed on the roof of Nanticoke Hall during the renovation in 2011. The array consists of a series of glass chambers surrounding black-painted copper piping and copper flashing. The system provides a year-round, renewable source of heated water for the domestic hot water in this residence hall. In addition, the solar hot water was designed to serve as the heat source for the mechanical room in the basement of Nanticoke.

Geothermal HVAC Systems

During the Comprehensive Housing Renovation Program (CHRP), 3 residence halls were renovated and HVAC systems were upgraded to higher efficiency geothermal equipment which also makes hot water.  Three of the residence halls have exactly the same square footage and number of beds.  One of those, Pocomoke Hall, had a relatively new boiler and chiller system when the renovation was performed so it remained.  Wicomico Hall and Manokin Hall required HVAC replacement due to age and condition.  Geothermal systems were installed in Wicomico and Manokin, establishing a laboratory-like scenario!  The three buildings are used in the same way, have the same number of beds, and differ only in the heating and cooling systems.  Data has shown that the geothermal systems perform best in the extremes of weather - very hot and very cold.  Annually, the geothermal systems use approximately 30% less energy than the traditional alternative.

Renewable Energy Purchases

In 2010, the University System of Maryland (USM) and the Department of General Services executed three (3), twenty year Power Purchase Agreements for renewable energy. The projects are:

  • 16 megawatt solar project at Mount St. Mary's University
  • 10 megawatt wind project in western Maryland
  • 55 megawatt wind project in West Virginia

SU purchases a percentage of the output from each project, which equates to approximately 12 percent of our total electricity use. The Maryland wind project, Roth Rock Wind Farm, became operational in July 2011, with the Pinnacle Project (West Virginia) expected to be operational in the first quarter 2012; and the solar project at Mount St. Mary’s operational later in 2012.

Additional renewable energy is purchased under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is a requirement of our electricity providers under Maryland law.  For 2014, electricity providers are required to provide renewable energy equivalent to 12.8% of our consumption.  To put this in perspective, for every 100 kilowatt hours purchased, 12.8 kilowatt hours will be from renewable energy sources. This percentage will gradually increase until 2022, when it will remain 20%. 

Energy Performance Contract

In 2007, Salisbury University partnered with PEPCO Energy Services to decrease water usage and energy consumption for a projected $5.3 million savings. PEPCO provided services for 17 projects, including the replacement of aging mechanical equipment or the installation of more efficient equipment for heating and cooling in 14 buildings, the installation of tens of thousands of more energy-efficient bulbs and lighting fixtures and the installation of energy “misers” on vending machines.

The project also involves upgrading approximately 1,700 plumbing fixtures to conserve 11 million gallons of water annually and reducing excessive air and solar infiltration to building interiors in 38 locations.

Funding for the project comes from the guaranteed savings through the investment, as well as from residence hall renovation funding. In all, the project is expected to save water equal to the amount consumed annually by 473 family homes, electricity sufficient to power 1,600 homes, and will reduce emissions equal to removing 1,571 cars from the road.

Landfill Gas Power Generation

Ingenco operates an electricity generation station powered by recovered landfill gas at the Wicomico County landfill. In 2013, SU purchased 8,000 RECs from the facility to offset emissions from campus operations. The Wicomico County landfill is the repository for the solid waste from the campus and supporting the landfill gas power generation operations is an environmentally responsible way to reduce the impact of the solid waste. The estimated landfill gas being destroyed to produce 8,000 RECs is the environmental equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 7,552 passenger vehicles, the carbon dioxide emissions from burning 210 railcars of coal or the energy benefit of powering 539 homes.

Need help or have questions about this page? Please visit our Ask a Question or Report a Problem page.
Salisbury University 1101 Camden Avenue Salisbury, MD 21801 410-543-6000