Supplier Diversity Helps Generate $6 Million in Energy Savings for Kent State
A bright idea – made possible through Kent State’s Office of Procurement and Supplier Diversity – will help Kent State University save more than $6 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.
On December 4, 2019, the university’s Board of Trustees approved solar panels as part of a renewable energy project on Kent State’s seven regional campuses. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
The idea came from a recent graduate of the Office of Procurement and Supplier Diversity’s annual Kent State University/Turner Construction Workshop Series. Graduate Cliff Wood, owner of Prairie Wind Group, a minority-owned company, said the idea of solar power for Kent State struck him after meeting with several of his university mentors from the Office of the University Architect. PWG later presented a proposal to university leadership about conducting a feasibility study to assess the potential savings in implementing solar installations on seven campuses within the university system.
“Initially, PWG estimated that Kent State could realize more than $1 million in energy savings,” said Veronica Cook-Euell, Supplier Diversity Program Manager. “PWG was hired to conduct a feasibility study. After the university publicly solicited proposals and evaluated which firm could offer the best value, the figure was revised to $6 million in savings over 20 years.”
Supplier diversity plays a key role in providing new solutions to Kent State through working with creative, innovative and competitive minority-owned and women-owned suppliers. Diversity in the university’s supplier base has been vital, not only with an eye on quality and cost savings, but in alignment with the university’s core values of diversity, equity and inclusion. This project in particular also aligns with Kent State’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
“The Office of the University Architect is a strong supporter of supplier diversity,” said Cook-Euell, “and because of their belief in inclusion, the entire university system will now benefit.”