BHSU leading the way in sustainability efforts across their campus

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Its been five years now since Black Hills State University made a commitment to become more energy sustainable. Now, that promise has become reality.

Black Hills State University is on a mission to be the first state school in South Dakota to utilize sustainable energy practices throughout their campus.

It’s also part of a larger plan to become carbon neutral by year 2050, the plan is called President’s Climate Commitment.

“We want to be the leader,” says Cory Johnson, energy manager. “That’s our biggest thing. We’ve had the wind generator on campus. We’re doing cardboard recycling. We’ve got the sustainability program here on campus.”

In 2017 the main campus in Spearfish started the process of their larger Sustainability Master Plan.

The company Genpro Energy Solutions has been working with the school since the beginning, installing a variety of solar panels on residential and educational buildings.

“It’s going to be the largest of its kind in the state,” says Molly Brown, Vice President of Genpro. “So it means not only means to Black Hills State can be 100% renewable, but it means a lot to the state of South Dakota. Saying, ‘hey look we can do this too.'”

Solar is just one aspect.

The school currently has an electric vehicle, with charging station. They also have plans to create a solar car port that will run their Life Sciences Building.

“That charging station is free to the public right now,” says Johnson. “Because we are just trying to get everyone out and about and learning about electric cars and the solar, and trying to push people that way.” 

The project is allegedly on track and the larger master plan is supposed to include student and community engagement in the effort to be more sustainable.

“We hope that it’s just a start here and have people see it and grow from there,” says Johnson.

Categories: South Dakota News

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