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University of Minnesota, Morris profiled by U.S. Department of Energy

WASHINGTON - The University of Minnesota, Morris has been profiled by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the department's "Clean Energy in Our Community" video series.

The video highlights UMM's investments in clean energy that are benefitting local residents and workers, as well as the university's efforts to reduce energy waste and deploy clean, renewable energy projects throughout the community.

The video can be viewed online at

"The University of Minnesota, Morris is a perfect example of how local institutions and communities can help lead the way in making sure that America wins the global clean energy race, while creating good local jobs and protecting the environment," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

UMM is committed to using renewable energy technologies to power its institution. Two 1.65 megawatt wind turbines produce enough power annually to provide about 60 percent of the campus's electrical needs. The first turbine, operated by the West Central Research and Outreach Center, began generating power in 2005 and the second turbine, operated by UMM, in 2011.

UMM also purchases 3,000 tons of corn cobs annually to use in its biomass plant which helps provide heating and cooling for over 150 days at full production or considerably longer during lower heating and cooling demands.  All of the corn is purchased from local farms, providing an additional income as high as $240,000 to the local economy.

The Regional Fitness Center swimming pool is heated using 32 solar thermal arrays avoiding about 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

The Welcome Center, certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold, is the first building in Minnesota and the first building listed on the National Register of Historic Places to use energy efficient chilled beam technology. UMM also created an Office of Sustainability that helps the college prioritize projects to meet its goals.

"Being first has not always been easy. But taking risks, discovering new knowledge--that's part of the mission of higher education. Morris's commitment to sustainability is a product of our culture and values. It is rooted in the campus's history and its relationship to the land," said Chancellor Jacquie Johnson. "Morris students - and alumni, too - care about ideas and knowledge, but that's not enough for them. They want to take their ideas and ideals and make something happen."

UMM is nationally recognized for collegiate involvement in sustainability initiatives through its membership in the American College and University President Climate Commitment, American Council of Renewable Energy, Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.