I do have some brief comments to make, and I want to start with a quote.  The American author and scholar, Dr. Peter Senge once observed, "Sustainability is not a problem to be solved. It is a future to be created." I agree, and at Pittsburg State, we're working to create that future on a daily basis.

It's been nearly a year since we adopted environmental sustainability as one of the university's six strategic goals. This is now a lens through which we view all projects and is becoming an essential part of our character.

Over the past year, Pittsburg State has been able to make its buildings more energy efficient through the state's  deferred maintenance program and stimulus funding, incorporate recycling into its daily operations, employ "green" strategies in the construction of new parking lots, and even use sustainable methods in the demolition of antiquated dormitories.

These are small steps to be sure, but they demonstrate this university's commitment to creating a sustainable future.

Today, we take another step forward by announcing a $4.5 million energy savings plan.  Through this plan, we will undertake a multi-year effort to reduce waste, maximize energy savings, and educate our students, faculty and staff about best energy practices.

The first phase of this plan is currently taking place behind me, with the installation of a new $600,000 geo-thermal system that will change the way McPherson Hall and Timmons Chapel are heated and cooled.

This project, which is partially funded through a $250,000 Department of Energy grant, is being led by Energy Solutions Professionals and their subcontractor Ground Source Systems. Eighteen holes will be drilled to a depth of 400 feet, to accommodate piping which will be filled with fluid. As the fluid circulates, the Earth's constant temperature will both cool it in the summer and heat it in the winter, allowing for more efficient climate control in both buildings.

Other facets of the energy savings plan include the replacement of inefficient electrical equipment and a complete lighting upgrade throughout the campus.

This plan is not only environmentally friendly it also makes economic sense.  The savings in utility costs alone are expected to cover the initial investment of $4.5 million within 13 years.  It's another example of how proper planning and institutional commitment can deliver outcomes that are both economically responsible and environmentally sustainable.

Perhaps the best part of this project is that it uses technology that is readily available, and capable of being used in residential homes. Many of the energy saving techniques in this plan can be used in your homes and businesses.

We live in a world with a finite amount of resources and we have a responsibility to use them in wisely.

It's only by working together that we will realize a future that is truly sustainable.  

I began with a quote, and I'd like to end with one.  Consider this: "Being a good steward of the environment and of our communities, and being an efficient and profitable business, are not mutually exclusive. In fact they are one and the same."  This observation was made by the Pittsburg State University graduate who for a decade served as the President and CEO of Wal-Mart.  He got it right for American business, but he also got it right for an institution of higher education.  We can be good stewards of the environment and be good stewards of state funding and tuition dollars at the same time.  I think we have an obligation to do both.  The project behind me and the overall energy savings plan we've announced this morning offer a clear opportunity to do just that.

Thank you for coming and I look forward to answering your questions about this exciting step forward for Pittsburg State University.