UH Mānoa partners with White House on energy savings for Hawai'i

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Dec 2, 2011

Today the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa was recognized for national leadership in sustainability and invited to participate in a White House Better Buildings Challenge, at which President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton announced their commitment to fulfilling new energy reduction goals. This initiative also is an opportunity to create green job training and employment opportunities for the people of Hawai‘i.
Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw joined a growing group of selected leaders to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies in the building sector throughout the country. UH Mānoa and Hawai‘i were identified for outstanding leadership in setting and achieving energy goals for the campus and the State.
The Better Buildings Challenge initiative announced by President Obama and former President Clinton aims to upgrade building energy performance by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020 and represents nearly $4 billion of investments in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years. These investments are designed to save billions in energy costs and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector throughout Hawai‘i and the rest of the nation.
Chancellor Hinshaw and Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder noted that the partnerships in Hawai‘i, reflecting bold state initiatives, are moving us forward in meeting this critical priority. “This is not simply about sustainability, but rather about survivor-ability—and Hawai‘i can lead the way,” she said.
A widely acknowledged leader in sustainability, UH Mānoa has adopted energy reductions goals of:
  • Overall campus energy reduction of 30% by 2012
  • Overall campus energy reduction of 50% by 2015
  • 25% renewable energy by 2020
  • Energy, water and waste independent by 2050
“We are on target to achieve our first milestone of reducing overall campus energy use by 30%, through our energy conservation measures and thanks to support from our Legislature and other partners who have helped fund modernized cooling systems and renewable energy projects,” said Chancellor Hinshaw. 
“Completing our other goals will require sustained commitment by our campus and our community partners to continue the momentum we’ve created toward energy independence,” she said. 
UH Mānoa’s half-century-old Kuykendall Hall is the focus of the Better Buildings Challenge program.  Proposed $36 million renovations would make the instructional building an example for UH and Hawai‘i to move toward longer-term energy independence goals and demonstrate innovation in sustainable tropical architecture. It would be the first zero net energy (non-fossil fuel dependent) retrofitted building in the State of Hawai‘i.  Funds for construction are being requested from the State Legislature.
Design for the project is supported through the U.S. Department of Energy National Commercial Building Partnership Program as one of only three nationally to create a high-performance net zero energy design. Ben Woo Architects of Honolulu led the impressive design effort.  The design team includes nationally recognized experts in natural ventilation and acoustics provided by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and supported by technical input from the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley.
For more information about UH Mānoa’s sustainability initiatives, see: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/facilities/ or http://manoa.hawaii.edu/chancellor/sustainability/.