Energy consumption and production are important factors in sustainability. The most effective action we can take to reduce the impact of energy production is to reduce our consumption. For the energy we do use, we want to consider how it is produced and transmitted. Kent State University is addressing all of these aspects of campus energy.

Energy Efficiency

Kent State’s energy efficiency retrofits have resulted in an energy use reduction of 22% at regional campuses and a 24% reduction at the Kent campus, through strategies such as more efficient building systems, sensors to adjust light and ventilation, and building setbacks for unoccupied times. For more information, visit Office of the University Architect

Solar Arrays

Kent State’s first solar array was a PPA installed on the roof of the Field House at the Kent Campus, which is beyond the campus grid.  At the time it was completed in the summer of 2012, it was the largest, roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panel electrical system within the University System of Ohio, Kent State now owns that system. In 2020/2021 Kent State added solar arrays at six of our regional campuses (Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Stark, Salem, Trumbull) and the Kent State College of Podiatric Medicine, increasing our solar energy capacity to 4.25 megawatts.  A Solar Power Developer engineers, procures, operates, and finances the turnkey large solar photovoltaic systems located at Kent State University's Regional Campuses: Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, and Trumbull. Kent State University is under contract with Madison Energy Investments II, LLC, for the ongoing Solar Photovoltaic Power Purchase Agreement, and Site Lease Agreement. The team installed, owns, maintains, and operates the systems in accordance with O.R.C. 3345.61, .62, .63 and 3345.65. There are four (4) ground mounted arrays, [(3) fixed mount and (1) single axis tracking], and five (5) rooftop solar PV systems at the Regional Campuses. The Podiatric Medicine array is also ground mounted, included in an Energy Conservation Project with The Brewer-Garrett Company. The university preferred a maximum 25-year total PPA contract in almost every case to maximize savings over grid supplied electric power. Melink, Third Sun Solar and Paradise Energy Solutions are the EPC contractors. The majority of the companies, workers and some materials are from Ohio.

While contributing to the environmental benefits of solar power, these Regional and Satellite Campus solar arrays are also projected to save the university about $2 million over 25 years. Every year, the solar PV arrays installed to date are projected to reduce the Kent State Carbon footprint by 4,116 Tons of CO2 – the emissions reduction equivalent to removing 802 cars from the roads or 420,121 gallons of gasoline burned!

Field House Solar Array

The photovoltaic solar array on the roof of the Field House and in operation since July 2012, is nearly ½ Megawatt in size, covers about 1 acre of roof area and generates about 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is about one-third of the annual total power used by the Field House and Dix Stadium – enough to power about 50 61.7 average homes for a year. The solar PV array reduces our Carbon Dioxide Equivalent impact on the Earth by 390 tons each year.

Regional CampusInstallation Annual Energy Production (kWh)
AshtabulaGround mounted1,161,216
East LiverpoolRooftop mounted114,329
GeaugaGround mounted392,489
SalemGround mounted791,829
StarkRooftop mounted323,169
TrumbullGround mounted1,647,591
College of Podiatric MedicineGround mounted348,062
Kent- Field HouseRooftop mounted500,000

Solar Arrays

Wind Turbines

In 2014 Kent State University at Geauga has installed a 3,000-watt wind turbine on its campus that will reduce energy costs and cut down on carbon emissions. This is the first wind energy project at any Kent State campus.

In 2015 a vertical wind turbine was recently installed at Kent State University at Stark to promote energy conservation and sustainability, and serve as a cross-discipline teaching and learning tool for students.

Distributed Energy - Combined Heat and Power Plant

Kent State’s combined heat and power plant can produce about 60% of the Kent campus’ electricity as well as steam and chilled water on a campus loop. The 13 MW cogeneration plant has two gas fired turbines, gas fired boilers, campus district steam distribution, and steam driven and electric chillers for district chilled water distribution, and is about twice as efficient as a standard utility power plant. The entire plant is designed to maximize efficiency by means of digital electronic metering and instrumentation. Extensive use of control software and computers allows Kent State University to use less electricity, less compressed air, less water, fewer chemicals, less salt, and requires fewer work hours to accomplish deep energy efficiency.


The  incorporation of the EarthWise chiller in a Kent State University project, especially serving our 24/7 resident students, is yet another step that proves our commitment to sustainability.

The EarthWiseTM Centrifugal 870 Ton cooling capacity chiller from Trane, was the only chiller in the world to earn the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) when installed in 2016.  The testing and certification is through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and Underwriters Laboratories in accordance with ISO 14025. It is also Green Seal Labeled which makes identifying “Green” products easier for people to select. 

The chiller was added to the fleet of 2 electric and 1 steam absorption chillers in the East Campus Chilled Water Plant.  The plant was modified and the chiller installed between late 2015 and early 2016.  The chiller plant has been operational since about mid-February 2016. The new EarthWise chiller is programmed to be the first chiller that starts when there is a cooling load – which is year-round.  This will allow maximum energy and cost savings when any cooling is needed on the chilled water loop.  The majority of the refrigeration load for the Dining Services refrigerators and freezers is cooled with chilled water provided by the Plant. The Plant also cools all of the local Residence Halls that offer air conditioning except for Engleman and Stopher-Johnson which are in different locations on campus and served by a different main cooling loop.

DO IT IN THE DARK: Energy Saving Competition

Even with features like light sensors and smart power strips, our behavior greatly impacts the energy consumption of the spaces we occupy. University Housing raises awareness and makes conservation fun by having residence halls compete each fall to save energy during “Do It In the Dark.”  

Ever wonder just how much electricity or gallons of water a residence hall consumes each week? View Kent State's Utility Dashboards to find out how much of each resource is consumed per residence hall at Kent State University.

View Utility Dashboards

Do It In the Dark at Kent State Facebook Page


May Prentice House near the PARTA Bus Stop

Students enrolled in an architecture seminar, spring 2017, participated in a workshop investigating, and building a small-scale sustainable project.  Taught by Associate Professor Greg Stroh with lab assistance from Chip Clark, of the FabLab at the CAED, the build workshop’s initial research project constructed a solar powered USB charging station for use as a bus wait structure on campus. The students researched materials/fabrication, detailing, assembly and sustainability issues through a set of modules, ranging from the technical to the aesthetic, with the final assembly taking place at the end of the spring semester.  Both traditional and advanced technologies were deployed within the making of the project - from CNC milling of the bench to the hand varnishing of the marine plywood. A solar panel on the roof powers six USB ports, integrated into the bench for powering up devices while patrons wait for the next bus. This solar powered USB charging pavilion is located outside May Prentice House near the PARTA bus stop.

Bowman and Satterfield


Summit Ponds directly off Campus Center Drive

In 2020, Architecture Professor Greg Stroh’s most recent Build Workshop with undergraduate students Amanda Harrer, Branden Hudak and Thomas Lowry, and graduate students Francesco Aloe, Christopher Brown, John DiAntonio and Alysa Lovich created “The Bend”. In support of Kent State’s sustainability initiative, “The Bend” utilizes a minimal footprint, solar energy for usb charging, and locally sourced materials. A prototype was constructed using the college’s Fabrication Lab for its site on Kent’s State campus [directly off of Campus Center Drive] that offered freedom to test the prototype within the relatively loose confines of public space. Referring directly to the relationship between user, device, and environment, the charging pavilion offers an unexpected collection of functionality. Offering a covered seating area promoting social interaction with usb charging capability and a singular seat framing a view to the woods beyond, the high back seat also deploys a camera stand used for documentation of the campus study pond.  The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) awards a College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s (CAED) project Honorable Mention for the 2020 ‘Best of Design Awards’ in the Student Work – Group category. 

View photos

Tips for Conserving Energy

  • Unplug computers*
  • Unplug peripherals* (speakers, printers, monitors, etc.)
  • Unplug copiers*
  • Unplug appliances (coffee pots, microwaves, toasters, refrigerators, space heaters, etc.)
  • Close and lock windows
  • Close blinds or drapes
  • Turn off lights
  • If repairs are needed submit request

*Unplug devices and power strips if possible. Turn off power strips if plug is inaccessible.

Tips for Conserving Energy Poster

View Residence Hall Energy Saving Tips

Ohio Public Utility Commission Electricity Use

EPA Tips to Reduce Energy Use

EPA Reduce the Environmental Impact of your energy use 

Peak Load Day


Tips for Conserving Energy