Featured Photos: 1. (Above) Duke Energy presents the Business Energy Excellence Award to Blue Ridge Community College in July 2023. 2. (Below) The efforts of Blue Ridge Community College’s Barry Brown (left) and Marshall Morris (right) were paramount in earning the Business Energy Excellence Award from Duke Energy. (Photos by: Benjamin Rickert)
Update (Aug. 17, 2023) – Duke Energy’s energy savings case study (PDF) featuring Blue Ridge Community College is now available.
By: Benjamin Rickert
Marketing & Communications Dept.
In recognition of Blue Ridge Community College’s commitment to energy efficiency, the College received the inaugural Business Energy Excellence Award this summer from Duke Energy. The first of its kind, the award celebrates Blue Ridge’s significant savings of 514,500 kWh this past year – an amount equivalent to the energy used by about 50 residential homes over a period of one year – due to strategic measures within Duke Energy’s business energy efficiency incentive programs. These conservation efforts also earned the College over $50,000 in rebates, and the energy savings will continue year after year.
“As a community college, Blue Ridge strives to be a responsible steward of our community’s resources and environments,” said Dr. Laura Leatherwood, president of Blue Ridge Community College. “We’re grateful to Duke Energy for helping to increase our efficiency as we continually work to provide our community with more while requiring less.”
Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest electric utility, presented the award on July 12 at Blue Ridge’s Henderson County Campus. The award was accepted by Blue Ridge’s Barry Brown, director of facilities and plant operations; Marshall Morris, project construction coordinator; and College administrators.
Throughout Blue Ridge’s energy reduction work, Morris and Brown worked closely with Duke Energy Business Advisor Alesha Reardon. Morris praised Duke Energy’s incentive programs and collaborative approach through Reardon.
“We have had a fantastic relationship with our business energy advisor,” said Morris. “She has always been willing to consult with us and provide energy efficient options for upcoming projects.”
As part of the award-winning measures to reduce energy use, Blue Ridge recently installed LED lighting in multiple auditoriums, learning spaces and walkways; replaced a large air cooling unit; and added a ‘variable frequency drive’ device to the College’s Technology Education and Development Center that varies electrical use based on demand.
“Duke Energy was a tremendous help to the College in identifying the great energy savings we could achieve, the equipment we could improve, and path to get there,” said Barry Brown. “By joining our national movement toward going green and reducing our carbon footprint, it not only helps the Earth, but it improves our bottom dollar and saves the county resources, too. It’s positive for the whole community.”
As part of its commitment to ecological responsibility, Blue Ridge has also installed electric vehicle charging stations and water bottle filling stations on campus, maintained its bee-friendly “Bee Campus USA” status, and organized recycling collection in every campus building.