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When building the Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences and The Inn at Ohio Northern University, energy conservation was an important part of the design and construction process. High-efficiency water heaters, HVAC systems and lighting were installed in both buildings in addition to increased insulation, low-flow fixtures, and dual or automatic flushing toilets. This can reduce water usage by up to 67 percent compared to traditional toilets.
Sustainable living is not only good for the planet, but also for budgets. Living in on-campus housing provides students with the opportunity to take individual responsibility for their carbon footprint. In addition to educational and practical programming providing by RAs in the halls, students also will see stickers on every light switch that say "Do your part... Conserve Energy. Turn lights OFF when leaving." Individuals can conserve energy by taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth, and maintaining reasonable temperatures in their apartments or residence hall rooms.
ONU’s fleet of hybrid and electric campus vehicles reduces the University’s dependence on fossil fuels.
During summer 2009, Founders Complex and Affinity Village Complex were updated to use a geothermal heating and cooling system. It is expected to reduce energy use in those areas by 30 to 40 percent and reduce water consumption in Affinity Village by 30 percent. In all, 30 percent of ONU’s housing features geothermal, earth-friendly technology.
Ohio Northern University formed the wind turbine research team in 2007 to determine the feasibility of installing wind turbines to supplement the campus’s energy usage. During summer 2008, the University purchased and installed data collectors on the campus radio tower to monitor wind direction and speeds. After over a year of research, the team determined that wind turbines are an economically viable option for the University. In 2010, three wind turbines were installed on the ONU campus. Each three-blade wind turbine is 220 feet tall and generates 400 kilowatts of power. The University will use the collective 1.2 megawatts of power generated by the three wind turbines on the ONU campus. The three turbines will meet five to 10 percent of the University’s electricity needs.