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Wheeling U. First University in the Nation to Test New Energy-Saving Technology

WHEELING — Wheeling University is using a new device – Tune – that is helping the school save money on its electric bill and reduce its impact on the environment.

The announcement was made Tuesday during a press conference held at the school’s Center for Educational Technologies building.

Present for the event were WU President Ginny Favede and The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese, along with Jim Owings, founder and developer of Tune, and Richard Peluchette, president of Liberty Energy Solutions of Triadelphia, Tune’s distributor.

David Anayo, an engineering student at WU, also explained how he and his fellow engineering students were involved with a year-long pilot program to test the device at the school before the university decided to go campus-wide with it.

The test program was created by Anayo’s professor, Robert Yahn, who is assistant professor of engineering at WU. Yahn was not in attendance Tuesday because he was on a trip out of state.

Tune works by reducing the amount of electricity that comes through a building’s electrical panel. Peluchette said most electric devices only need a certain amount of electricity to work, which means there is excess electric current coming into a panel. This wasted electricity is called “harmonic noise.” And because the device dissipates heat, it also reduces wear and tear on appliances, he added.

The results of WU’s pilot project showed a 12.5% reduction in kilowatts per hour used at the CET building. In just one month, the university saved $1,581 on its electric bill.

The company is planning to offer Tune to all Catholic universities and churches with a 10% discount. The offer has been named WU10 after the university.

While Tune has been used in commercial buildings for a few years, Wheeling University is the first university in the United States to test the technology.

“Wheeling is grateful to be affiliated with this very worthy project,” Favede said. “This effort fulfills our Catholic sustainability mission put forth by Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘laudato si’, which calls on each of us to care for our common home – planet Earth.

“The reduction on kilowatt-hour usage and utility costs ties directly into our environmental sustainability goals while reducing our operating costs considerably.”

Each Tune unit costs $1,300. Each WU building contains about 10 units, Peluchette said. He said the company plans to roll out a residential Tune unit in a couple months; a price has not been set yet.

Owings said the technology first came about to reduce heat and protect data centers in California, but he discovered it also reduced consumption of electricity. The Tune device itself does not use any electricity to work.

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