LESS saves more: Winona State sustainability program is the largest in Minnesota

WINONA, Minnesota (WKBT) — Winona State’s Leading Energy Savings and Sustainability Project, also known as LESS, will be the largest energy saving program in the state of Minnesota.

Six buildings on campus will have solar panel systems and four carports. The university is also improving water conservation, installing LED lights, and an irrigation system.

“So we’ll be doing really large installation for renewable energy and then also doing a lot of other smaller sustainability measures,” Nathan Engstrom, Winona State sustainability and planning director, said.

The project will be the most expensive project under Minnesota’s Energy Savings Performance Contracting program.

“So yeah within that program, ours is the biggest with that 12 million dollar price tag,” Engstrom said.

Senior Project Manager Chris Sawyer says sustainability projects shouldn’t be limited to Universities alone.

“It’s very important to them, it should be important to everyone,” Sawyer said.

Winona State spends $1.7 million on energy costs per year. The university hopes this project will lower costs.

“So we wanna do everything we can to improve our facilities, and do it in a way that’s really efficient and high performance,” Engstrom said.

After the project is completed, the University will lower its carbon emissions by 25%.

“Look to these renewable energy sources and be a little more sustainable and conscious of our energy consumption on the buildings overall,” Sawyer said.

Winona State says over the next 25 years, the entire project will help them save over 26 million in energy costs, making it an investment in the environment and the health of the campus community.

Theproject is expected to be completed by the end of August.