Mount Mercy University and OPN Architects were awarded 2012 Excellence in Energy Efficient Design at the Iowa American Institute of Architects Convention in Des Moines. The award recognizes outstanding efforts to reduce energy use. Alliant Energy recognized OPN Architects, Inc. for renovations at Mount Mercy's new University Center, which achieved a 65 percent kBTU savings. The University Center opened in the fall of 2011.
The award is part of the Commercial New Construction Program offered by Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy and MidAmerican Energy Company, which provides energy design assistance and energy incentives to commercial customers for new construction, additions and renovation projects.
"We are pleased to be recognized for our sustainability efforts. The University Center ranked very well and was a great project to showcase and encourage others to utilize the energy efficiency program Alliant Energy offers," said Mount Mercy Vice President for Finance and Business Operations Barb Pooley. "Mount Mercy remains committed to maintaining an environmentally friendly campus in its daily operations."
Such sustainability efforts include planting 20 new trees on campus through a grant awarded by the Branching Out program through Alliant Energy and Trees Forever. Mount Mercy instituted a tray-free dining hall, decreasing food waste by two-thirds. Through a partnership with Linn County Solid Waste Agency, the remaining food waste is diverted out of the landfill and piloted to a composting facility. Mount Mercy has also committed to limiting the consumption of bottled water usage on campus, encouraging students, faculty and staff to use reusable bottles and installing gooseneck water fountains throughout campus. The university is also working to reduce its paper usage by offering course evaluation surveys online this year, which will save 10,000 pieces of paper.
For more information on Mount Mercy's sustainability efforts, visit www.mtmercy.edu/sustainability.