With a mission of serving “as a catalyst for regional prosperity and advancement,” Longwood University has turned its need for energy into an opportunity for regional innovation.
Longwood University’s campus of 4,500 students in Farmville, Va., now supplies 85 percent of its heating and hot water needs from bioenergy. The feedstock used to fuel that energy comes from regional mill operations, all within 45 minutes of the campus.
In 1973, Longwood’s primary energy source was fuel oil, which cost 10 cents a gallon. In the early 1980s, when fuel oil prices soared to more than $1 per gallon, the university sought new fuel sources to supply its energy needs. With limited access to coal and natural gas, the university found biomass to be the most cost-effective alternative to fuel oil.