Four solar panels on the roof of Davies Center reduce water heating costs by using the sun. The panels were designed and built in Waunakee, using solar thermal collectors manufactured in Starbuck, Minnesota. The sun heats a transfer solution of distilled water and propylene glycol, an organic compound that keeps it from freezing. As the solution absorbs sunlight and is heated, it moves through the panels and is pumped through a heat exchanger. The heat is transferred to water stored in holding tanks, manufactured in Milwaukee. This system provides hot water year round, saving Davies Center money and creating a zero-pollution source of hot water. In other campus buildings, water is heated using steam coming from the coal and natural gas boilers on upper campus.
Wind is a renewable, nonpolluting resource, and wind energy is part of the sustainability plan of Davies Center. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire buys certified renewable energy credits through Xcel Energy’s Windsource® program. UW-Eau Claire students pay for the energy credits through a student segregated fee collected for the specific purpose of reducing the university’s negative impact on the environment. The Student Office of Sustainability, a commission of the Student Senate, allocates funding for projects that make UW-Eau Claire a more sustainable campus. All of Davies Center’s electricity comes from wind power by way of green power purchases that help fund the building of wind farms, primarily in southwestern Minnesota.