The Ohio State University at Marion

​Sustainability fund supports solar panel installation

November 16, 2017

The Ohio State University at Marion was one of two Ohio State regional campuses recently awarded funding for sustainability projects by The Ohio State Sustainability Fund. The Sustainability Fund committed $62,450 to the installation of solar panels on the roof of Ohio State Marion's new Science and Engineering Building, which opened in August 2017.

The new building is a $15.5 million project independently funded by Marion campus reserves and philanthropic donations. It has replaced and expanded the science laboratories on campus, which were previously housed in the campus’ original 1968 building, Morrill Hall.

“We wanted the building to represent science and technology,” said Ohio State Marion Dean and Director, Gregory Rose.

Rose explained the main concerns for this project were attaining the funds to make it happen and making sure that construction plans ensured that the roof structure would be sufficient to support the solar array.

The building houses various biology, chemistry and research labs with equipment and infrastructure that will require a considerable amount of power. The solar array helps to minimize the energy use and environmental impact of the building. The building also features energy-saving measures such as Low-E glass windows, heat recovery units, natural light harvesting, LED lights and activity sensors.

The solar panels are not capable of producing the majority of the building’s power; however, they provide an educational experience for students. The campus has installed technology that monitors how much energy the panels generate and read-outs that are available for students to see. The data indicates the percentage of the building’s energy use that is coming from the panels and how much they reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

“What surprised me was that the solar panels appear flat instead of raised and were very simple to install,” Rose said, explaining that concrete blocks laid on the roof provide the base for the solar panels, which were simply assembled on top. Rose added that moving forward, the Marion campus is considering adding solar panels to more buildings because the installation process was so simple.

The Ohio State Sustainability Fund aids the university community in advancing sustainability programs, policy development and cultural change on campus. The Office of Energy and Environment manages the Ohio State Sustainability Fund with review and advice from the President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability. Projects funded through the program help achieve the university’s sustainability goals, including the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050.

President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability
Tristen Spahr is a student communications assistant at the Office of Energy and Environment.
The Ohio State University