Located in the southeast corner of Kansas, Pittsburg State University (PSU) is a campus of more than 7,000 students where the student-to-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. In 2010, PSU officials made sustainability one of its six strategic goals, vowing to undertake a multi-year effort to reduce waste, maximize energy savings, and educate students, faculty and staff about best energy practices.
When determining how to proceed with a sustainability plan, PSU officials were charged with identifying energy efficiencies that would help the university lower its carbon footprint and reduce costs. Any measures taken to protect the environment also had to be compatible with PSU’s requirements to carefully manage finances so that state funding and tuition dollars were spent wisely.
During the development process, PSU officials turned to Energy Solutions Professionals (ESP), whose team had previously performed successful energy conservation projects for the university, to design and install a geothermal heat pump system that would heat and cool McPherson Hall and Timmons Chapel. Numerous other energy efficiency measures were also included in the overarching plan to conserve energy, including utility submeters to track usage at each building.
PSU has delivered quickly on its strategic goal of reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills. The geothermal system, which was projected to pay for itself in 19.5 years, delivered electrical savings that exceeded the projections by 158 percent in the first year. PSU received $1 million in federal stimulus money and other grants to help offset the cost of the energy improvements for the entire energy project.
Total Square Feet
Number of Buildings
Total Project Cost
Carbon Footprint Reduction
13,006,706 pounds of CO2e
Equivalent of saving 663,862 gallons of gasoline