Umpqua Community College learns new strategies for cutting energy costs


Energy-efficient lighting in the gymnasium at Umpqua Community College.

It’s no surprise that education is at the heart of Umpqua Community College. So when the college learned about Strategic Energy Management (SEM)—an Energy Trust of Oregon offering that teaches organizations how to identify no- or low-cost operations and maintenance improvements—facilities personnel were eager to receive the training.

“Last year we realized 8 percent savings on our energy costs,” said Jess Miller, director of facilities and security, Umpqua Community College. “That was a $48,000 savings we were able to transfer to our general fund.”

SEM, which is provided at no cost to eligible customers, brings together a cohort of area organizations that meet regularly for workshops over the course of a year. Led by Energy Trust technical experts, participants receive training and tools, share information with each other on strategies, develop long-term skills to find and eliminate energy waste and receive cash incentives based on documented savings.

Umpqua Community College has participated in SEM three out of the last four years. One year they decided to “drop out,” but were quick to re-enroll the following. “We found that SEM helped us stay focused on finding and eliminating energy waste,” said Miller. “SEM really works for our campus.”

Read more about other Southern Oregon SEM cohort participants. Businesses, nonprofits and government organizations can learn more about energy management and how to find hidden savings. Call 1.866.605.1676 or email energymanagement@energytrust.org for more details.