Campus engineer plans green improvements

Butler University is continuing to identify energy improvements on campus with the welcoming of Amanda Doenges, the new campus engineer.

Upcoming projects include lighting controls and daylight sensors in the front lobby and the weightlifting and pool areas of the Health and Recreation Complex. The sensors will dim or turn lights off that are not needed when enough daylight is outside.

“The HRC is such a beautiful building, and it has such good solar exposure,” said Rich Michal, executive director of facilities. “It doesn’t make sense to have lights on in the middle of a sunny day.”

Another improvement Doenges and the maintenance department are looking at is occupancy sensors in the HRC restrooms and locker rooms that automatically turn off lights when they’re not needed.

Doegnes said they hope to have the HRC light sensors up and running after Spring Break.

Identifying energy improvements also includes Hinkle renovations. Doenges said she is looking at LED lighting and seeing how much energy and money could be saved for the university.

Doenges, whose first day on the job was Jan. 14, said she has a passion for researching energy-efficient alternatives, especially in the sector of higher education.

“My senior year of college, I took an energy efficiency class as an elective, and I fell in love,” Doenges said. “I’ve kind of always been interested in helping the environment and looking at the bigger picture, like how I can make an impact to save the world.”

Doenges went to the University of Dayton, where she received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and her master’s in renewable and clean energy.

After college, she worked at Heapy Engineering, where she was the LEED project manager.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Engery and Environmental Design, is a sustainability rating system for buildings. The system is funded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Schrott Center is pursuing LEED certification right now, Doenges said.

Senior Project Manager Craig Hardee said he will not know for sure about the building’s certification for a couple of months.

Buildings can earn LEED certification through a point-rating system scale after meeting certain LEED prerequisites.

Hardee said the points are based on how well the building does environmentally and how much energy the building can save.

The building earns points for the rain garden on its exterior, which naturally filters rainwater and reduces the collection of water in a drainpipe.

The building has occupancy sensors in the rooms to shut off lights when they are not needed. It also has water fountains and toilets that use less water, Hardee said.

Michal said they have committed to ensure all new buildings on campus will be LEED certified.

Doenges said she already has a sense of what working at Butler will be like.

Doenges said she likes all aspects of her job as well as how well the different colleges work together to make energy plans.

She uses listervs to ask other colleges how they are dealing with energy-efficiency issues on campus. She said she receives tons of responses and feedback on dealing with certain issues.

“I’d like to get us to the point where we’re recognized as being a super sustainable and energy efficient campus amongst all of our peers, especially in Indiana if not nationally recognized for it,” Doenges said.

Michal said the university always had a commitment to sustainability and has been at the forefront for years with different projects going on around campus.

“We want to be good financial stewards because energy and water are expensive, finite resources,” Michal said. “We need to do everything we can to not only be sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint but also to save money and make sure that the students who are investing in their education are getting the best quality and most efficient service that they can.”

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