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UHMC invites community to blessing, lū‘au to celebrate Net Zero energy independence

UHMC invites community to blessing, lū‘au to celebrate Net Zero energy independence
April 19, 2018 Ho‘oulu Staff

UHMC will produce, store and use 100 percent renewable energy on its campus by this time next year and become the first college in the nation to achieve “Net Zero,” UHMC Chancellor Lui Hokoana announced today.

To celebrate this goal and launch the project’s next phase of construction, UHMC will host Kalāhou, or “The New Day,” on Wednesday, April 25, at 11:45 a.m. on the Great Lawn, followed by a grand lū‘au at Pā‘ina building at 1 p.m.

“This achievement has gained UHMC national recognition as an institution that walks the talk on sustainability,” Hokoana said. “I am grateful to our partners, and our sustainability program, for spurring us to lead by example and inspire our community with this milestone. This event is significant for Maui, as an island community, and having the ability to fully operate using the power of the sun is a powerful message we want to share about our campus culture of innovation.”

Additional solar panels, projected to last 12 to 15 years, will be installed at open spaces along Wahinepio and W. Kaahumanu Avenues to complete Phase 2 of the Net Zero project. Last year, panels were installed on building rooftops in addition to the campus’ covered parking lot and science building.

A March 19 press release from UH News noted UH Community Colleges’ partnership with Johnson Controls Inc. and Pacific Current, which aims to reduce fossil fuel energy use by community colleges across the state. UHMC plans to reduce its use of fossil fuels by 100 percent by April 2019.

Hokoana said the project to date has offset 30 percent of the campus’s total energy consumption, for a total savings of approximately $37,000 annually. He said energy savings may be used to further sustainability goals by retrofitting air conditioning systems and upgrading to more energy-efficient infrastructure.

During the celebration, Earth Day festivities at the Great Lawn hosted by the Student Ohana for Sustainability will feature educational information from partner booths, and an electric vehicle test-drive event from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit maui.hawaii.edu/kalahou for more details about the blessing, lū‘au and to sign up for an EV test drive.

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