BHSU sheds new light on its conservation efforts

SPEARFISH — Black Hills State University is continuing its commitment to sustainability by installing more than 200 solar panels atop Bordeaux Hall.

In 2007, BHSU became the first South Dakota school to join the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment to become completely carbon neutral by 2050.

“There are more efforts to be made,” Randy Culver, associate vice president for Facilities and Sustainability at BHSU said. “But we’re confident that we’re on track.”

Culver said the panels being installed at Bordeaux Hall were always part of the planed sustainability effort going back to when the new student residence was built three years ago.

“When we designed this roof, we designed it to hold solar panels,” he said.

The $150,000 rooftop solar project being installed at Bordeaux Hall will produce 70-kilowatt hours, which comprises approximately 20 percent of the dorm’s electricity usage. A company based out of Piedmont, called GenPro Energy Solutions, is installing the panels.

Bordeaux won’t be the only building to receive a solar panel makeover. Culver said that this fall university officials hope to install panels on the library, and moving forward, on top of the life science laboratory as well as the Donald E. Young Fitness Center.

Culver mentioned other environmental measures taken by the university such as recycling stations being placed around campus; replacing trash cans in administration offices with recycling bins to encourage employees to be more conscious about how they dispose of their waste; the Anita Haeder campus garden, which is open for community use; and “Food Hub”, which partners local farmers and growers with kitchens across the Black Hills, including the cafeterias at Rapid City Regional Hospital and Mount Rushmore.

BHSU will also host 150 students from area elementary schools for an Eco Explorers Event on July 11. The day-long event will teach students about conservation and recycling efforts in the Black Hills. 

Another bright spot for the Facilities and Sustainability department at BHSU has been retrofitting all exterior lights on campus to accept LED light bulbs, as well as plans to do the same for all interior lights. In addition to LED bulbs, all exterior lights were also equipped with solar panels of their own.

For more information about the conservation efforts being made at BHSU and the community events, contact Petrika Peters, sustainability coordinator by emailing, or call 642-6298.

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