The push for cleaner energy has become a movement, especially regarding the energy use at universities.  Thinking about cooling, heating, and the various energy necessities for charging laptops or phones, combined with how many students are attending any college or university in America, puts into perspective the astonishing amount of energy required to run a school.

The University of Hawaii is one of the leading universities in the country when it comes to renewable energy and conservation. They have recognized that university energy systems are unique and consequently require a specialized approach to energy production and consumption. The approach that Hawaii is taking toward the renovation of their grid is due to their history of power outages, changing customer demand for more renewable energy, and new state regulations requiring 100% decarbonized energy. As one of the largest state-owned consumers of energy, the University of Hawaii is attempting to be at the innovative forefront of these changes. To make this possible, the university has paired up with Blue Pillar to revamp their electric grid.

Blue Pillar’s IoT network that focuses on the capabilities of transforming energy usage makes them an important helping hand in this new project. The goal of the partnership is the creation of an “Energy-Smart University.” This project began only a couple of years ago and has connected to 75 building submeters, over 40 solar PV arrays and supporting inverters, as well as 30 buildings using automation systems from multiple vendors. All of this has taken place on Hawaii’s main campus in Honolulu.

The University of Hawaii has shown leadership in innovation through their commitment to achieving renewable energy targets. Investing in digital technology has accelerated their transition, and collecting and analyzing data has been crucial as they work to optimize usage. Hawaii’s new approach to designing the way energy is supplied to universities will be revolutionary for the industry, as well as an example for other universities.

While the University of Hawaii is a leader amongst academic institutions when it comes to cleaner energy use, they are not the only school changing the way they produce and consume power. Michigan State began an Energy Transition Plan in order to uphold energy consumption and sustainability goals across campus even while encountering evolutions of their campus over time. This plan is a framework for what will eventually push towards the goal of 100% renewable energy on campus. Michigan State University has installed solar panels on the roofs of parking structures and buildings, and will soon create clear solar panel windows that will be placed throughout buildings on campus.

University of Hawaii’s focus on energy usage paved the way for Michigan State and other universities to move forward with innovative energy transition plans. Their grid modernization efforts provide an example for how universities can efficiently run an institution using clean power.