The University of New Mexico is among four Albuquerque businesses that have gone above and beyond by completing projects that save energy and money and earning them a PNM Energy Star.

Casas del Rio student housing received the award for the most innovative project. PNM reported, "The University of New Mexico took extra measures to reduce energy use at the Casas del Rio student housing. During construction, UNM installed a state-of-the-art HVAC system. HVAC systems can account for up to 30 percent of energy usage. Not only was the housing unit built with energy efficient HVAC, but also with low-energy use lighting and occupancy controls, earning each building LEED Silver certification. This project makes Casas del Rio one of the greenest student housing options on campus."

PNM Program Manager Carlos Lucero said, "UNM went above and beyond code for their lighting and HVAC measures at Casas del Rio. The projects resulted in a PNM rebate of $46,880 and annual energy savings of 658,000 kWh. Based on the energy savings, UNM can expect to save $50,000 on their PNM bill annually."

Other award winners are the City of Albuquerque, which received the award as the largest business with the highest energy savings. The city replaced inefficient lighting and installed occupancy sensors in the East Convention Center, saving $75,000 annually in electric bills. 

Building Interests, Inc. was the recipient of the small business with the highest energy savings award. Their project to upgrade lighting should help them reduce their electrcity costs by $16,900.