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Luther College new science building goes “green”


Alliant Energy presents the school with $112,599 in energy efficiency rebates

Overall enrollment at Luther College has doubled since Valders Hall of Science opened in 1961 and the number of science graduates has grown six-fold. To meet the needs of increased enrollment and the changing environment for teaching and learning science, Luther made the decision to construct a new laboratory building adjacent to the existing science facility. The college wanted not only a newer facility, but a “greener” facility.

Before getting started, the college invited Alliant Energy into the design process. The building went through an energy-efficient evaluation process provided by the Commercial New Construction program offered through Alliant Energy. The planning team evaluated options available to reduce energy consumption and heating and cooling costs to reflect the college’s commitment to sustainability. To reward the energy savings that resulted, Alliant Energy presented Luther with an incentive check for $112,599.

“We evaluated several potential energy conservation strategies Luther could consider in building the addition to Valders,” said Lori Broghammer-Strategic Account Manager, Alliant Energy. “Luther College leadership was willing to commit to energy-efficiency on the front end allowing us to achieve much greater fiscal and environmental results.”

By partnering with Alliant Energy while the science building was being designed, a variety of energy conservation strategies were considered, including roof and wall insulation, daylighting, occupancy sensor controls, as well as highly efficient mechanical systems. These strategies were modeled prior to construction so that the college could see anticipated energy savings, incremental costs, and utility incentive amounts.

Alliant Energy’s CNC program helped the addition to Valders, the Sampson-Hoffland Laboratories, decrease its expected electricity consumption by approximately 42 percent, saving more than 800,000 kWh of electricity each year. This results in the school saving more than $90,000 on its annual energy bill and earning $112,599 in energy efficiency rebates.

“We are excited about the energy efficiencies we have included as part of our building project,” said Luther President Richard Torgerson. ”Because of the incentives Alliant Energy included as a part of their program, we were able to save the college money and bolster Luther College’s campus-wide commitment to environmental sustainability"

In addition to lowering its energy bill and receiving an extra cash incentive from Alliant Energy, Luther is also doing its part to reduce its environmental impact. By choosing to make the building more efficient than required by the State of Iowa building code, the energy efficiency measures will avoid more than 572 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is equivalent to removing about 105 passenger vehicles from Iowa roadways or planting about 130 acres of trees.

Luther College recently released the results of a carbon footprint analysis for the 2007-08 academic year. The data shows that Luther has reduced its campus carbon footprint by 15 percent. The college’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked at 20,927 metric tons in the 2003-04 academic year. These emissions were reduced to 17,672 metric tons in 2007-08, primarily through a $1.5 million investment in energy efficiency done in partnership with Alliant Energy.

Inventories of Luther’s carbon footprint for the past six academic years are available online at

The Commercial New Construction program is available to Alliant Energy’s retail electric and/or natural gas customers in Iowa. To qualify, new commercial buildings and building renovation projects must be located within Alliant Energy’s Iowa service territory. For more information, visit or call 1-866-ALLIANT.


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