Maui Business

UH Maui College Lū‘au Celebrates Net-Zero Energy Independence

April 23, 2018, 8:45 AM HST
* Updated April 25, 9:27 AM
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UH Maui College PV and battery storage system. PC: University of Hawai‘i

University of Hawai‘i Maui College will produce, store and use 100% renewable energy on its campus by this time next year and become the first UH campus to achieve net-zero, by producing as much energy as it consumes, UHMC Chancellor Lui Hokoana announced today.

To celebrate and launch the project’s next phase of construction, UHMC will host Kalāhou, or “The New Day,” Wednesday, April 25, at 11:45 a.m. at the Great Lawn, followed by a grand lū‘au at the Pā‘ina building at 1 p.m. The community, project partners and the public may attend by emailing [email protected]

UH Maui College PV and battery storage system. PC: University of Hawai‘i

“This achievement has gained UHMC national recognition as an institution that walks the talk on sustainability,” Hokoana said. “I am grateful to our partners, and our sustainability program, for spurring us to lead by example and inspire our community with this milestone.

“This event is significant for Maui, as an island community, and having the ability to fully operate using the power of the sun is a powerful message we want to share about our campus culture of innovation.”

Additional solar panels, projected to last 25 years, will be installed at open spaces along Wahinepio and W. Kaʻahumanu avenues to complete Phase 2 of the net-zero project. Last year, panels were installed on building rooftops in addition to the campus’ covered parking lot and science building.

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In March, UH News noted the UH Community Colleges’ partnership with Johnson Controls Inc. and Pacific Current, which aims to reduce fossil fuel energy use by community colleges across the state. UHMC plans to reduce its use of fossil fuels by 100% by April 2019.

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Hokoana said the project to date has offset 30 percent of the campus’ total energy consumption, for a savings of approximately $37,000 annually. He said energy savings may be used to further sustainability goals by retrofitting air conditioning systems and upgrading to more energy-efficient infrastructure.

During the celebration, Earth Day festivities at the Great Lawn hosted by the Student ʻOhana for Sustainability will feature educational information from partner booths, and an electric vehicle test-drive event from 2 to 6 p.m.

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