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Officials looking to make UH-Hilo campus more energy efficient

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University of Hawaii at Hilo officials are looking at ways to make the campus more energy efficient after underestimating the utility budget by about a half-million dollars.

Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Marcia Sakai said campus budgeted $5.1 million for utility costs in fiscal year 2011-12, but anticipated total spending is closer to $5.5 million.

She said the bulk of that spending is for electricity.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that Chancellor Donald Straney told the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce last month that the hefty bill means having to spend less on other things, such as faculty hires.

He has also appointed Sakai to find ways to cut utility costs, which he says isn’t about being environmentally friendly, but about “pure economic necessity.”

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