Montana State University

MSU's Dan Stevenson wins Montana BetterBricks Award for responsible energy use

October 12, 2012 -- Angie Ford, MSU News Service


Dan Stevenson, Montana State University assistant director of Facilities Services, was recently presented a 2012 Montana BetterBricks Award in recognition of his leadership in reducing the use of energy and other resources in university buildings. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Dan Stevenson, Montana State University assistant director of Facilities Services, was recently presented a 2012 Montana BetterBricks Award in recognition of his leadership in reducing the use of energy and other resources in university buildings.

The BetterBricks Award honors Montana's leading green building professionals who design, build, operate and advocate for high performance commercial buildings. Stevenson is responsible for engineering staff, utility systems, and energy management in MSU's Facilities Services.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of industry professionals, utility representatives and green building experts. In presenting Stevenson his award, the judges noted his big-picture vision of examining the campus as a whole to identify major changes that would benefit all buildings.

"Dan is currently overhauling the university's old steam-based heating and cooling system with new 'virtual' heat pump based chillers, which will recapture heat to distribute to other buildings. This is just one strategy among many that Dan is implementing that will eventually reduce natural gas consumption by 80 percent," the judges wrote.


"The basic concept is to develop energy stations at strategic locations on campus that will produce heating and cooling energy largely from energy reclamation and geothermal energy. This process is more of an evolution than a conversion," Stevenson said.

The first of these energy stations is under construction in Leon Johnson Hall and is anticipated to eventually heat and cool Leon Johnson Hall, Wilson Hall, the new College of Business, Montana Hall, as well as other nearby buildings.

Other energy plants are being considered and geothermal testing is also occurring.

"In the future, we hope to explore using Montana-based renewable energy generation to provide the electricity to drive these processes, reducing the carbon intensity of our campus' operation while supporting an emerging industry in Montana," Stevenson said.

"Energy conservation alone is not an energy strategy, but it is a cornerstone." Stevenson said. "Conservation can neutralize consumptive growth and decrease energy intensity. However, in the big picture, it is imperative that conservation be pragmatically integrated with renewable energy strategies if we are to achieve a civilized shift from fossil fuel dependency."
According to Stevenson, MSU's strategic energy plan focuses on the following:

  • Reduction of energy and resource use through conservation.
  • Reclamation of energy previously treated as waste streams or unwanted byproducts.
  • Integration of renewable energy strategies. Specifically achieving geothermal coupled systems powered by large scale renewably produced electricity.


The BetterBricks awards are presented by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a non-profit organization working to maximize energy efficiency to meet the nation's future energy needs. NEEA is supported by, and works in collaboration with, the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon and more than 100 Northwest utilities, including NorthWestern Energy, on behalf of more than 12 million energy consumers.

Angie Ford, angie.ford@msu.montana.edu