University of Hawaii Announces Plan to Retrofit for Energy Independence

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor The University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa revealed a $36 million master plan that entails complete energy, water and waste independence by 2050. This announcement is in line with the White House’s commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge. According to [...]

The University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa revealed a $36 million master plan that entails complete energy, water and waste independence by 2050. This announcement is in line with the White House’s commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge.

According to The Hawaii Independent, UH Manoa’s Kuykendall Hall will, upon completion, represent the first retrofitted building in Hawaii that is not fossil fuel-dependent .

UH officials have commented that the project is meant to serve as an example for the state, hoping that it will prove that moving towards energy independence and energy innovation is highly sustainable in tropical architecture.

UH Manoa has set the following goals:

• Campus energy reduction of 30 percent by 2012.
• Campus energy reduction of 50 percent by 2015.
• 25 percent renewable energy by 2020.
• Energy, water and waste independence by 2050.

The Better Buildings Challenge represents a national commitment that will enable the reduction of energy costs, which will promote energy independence and revitalize the construction sector.

Over the next two years, $2 billion will be allotted through federal funds. “I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades – at no up-front to the taxpayer,” said President Barack Obama. In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents and labor leaders have promised to invest $2 billion of private capital into energy efficient projects.

Ben Woo Architects of Honolulu is leading the design effort and has received help from natural ventilation and acoustics experts with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The design has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy National Commercial Building Partnership Program.