BSU Receives Over $135,000 Rebate from Otter Tail Power for Energy Improvements

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Bemidji State University has recently received an energy efficiency rebate of more than $137,200 from Otter Tail Power Company as part of the company’s Conservation Improvement Program. An additional $9,700 rebate was also granted for Bemidji State’s participation in Otter Tail’s geothermal study.

Travis Barnes, director of facilities, said a key component in reducing energy usage is to lay the ground-work for future projects.

“If we want to put solar panels onto a building, it doesn’t make sense to do that if the building has inefficient lighting and outdated electrical control systems,” he said. “These projects are creating the infrastructure that will make larger projects feasible in the future.”

Barnes also said these improvements will save the university more than $95,000 in annual energy savings and reduce energy usage by more than 1,200,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

“With the Otter Tail Power rebates and the annual energy savings, the return on investment will be less than five years,” he said.

Bemidji State’s 2020 projects included various renovations to both Bangsberg and Bensen Halls, LED lighting in the residential halls and Hobson Memorial Union and kitchen hood controls in Walnut Hall.

Since 2017, Bemidji State has undertaken a broad variety of energy conservation projects that have helped the campus reduce its energy consumption by nearly 6% and reduce its average monthly energy bill by nearly 7%.

With the help and guidance of Otter Tail’s Roger Garton, senior commercial and industrial representative for Otter Tail, Bemidji State has received nearly $600,000 in rebates to further improve campus efficiency.




MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling around 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers 70 undergraduate areas of study and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select pre-professional programs. At Bemidji State University, we educate people to lead inspired lives. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of liberal arts, and environmental stewardship. BSU is a Minnesota State university. For more, visit or find us at BemidjiState on your favorite social media networks.