Energy Efficiency

Facilities Services is working to improve energy efficiency in our buildings across campus through a variety of initiatives. Significant energy intensity is required to construct, operate, and maintain the University’s 114 buildings on campus. Emissions generated from these structures comprise nearly 97 percent of the University’s total carbon footprint, making this a critical arena for effectively managing its greenhouse gas emissions and annual energy costs. Some of the work we are doing to increase energy efficiency and improve energy conservation includes:

  • Energy audits have been conducted in campus buildings to assess the energy efficiency opportunities. A range of energy upgrades, from weatherization to lighting upgrades to retro-commissioning — a systematic review of equipment operations to ensure optimal operating performance — is being funded by a $2.5 million gift from the Crown Family and is supplemented by the University. The first round of projects was completed in Winter 2011 in Kent Chemical Laboratory, the Social Science Research Building, and Henry Crown Field House, and resulted in savings of nearly 600,000 kilowatt hours and $200,000 annually.
  • Facilities Services is fine-tuning the Building Automation Systems (BAS), which monitor and control the mechanical and lighting systems in a building, to regulate operations specific to each building’s needs. For example, building fan systems do not need to operate at the same level when a building is unoccupied. By setting fan systems to an “unoccupied schedule,” which decreases fan operation when a building is unoccupied, total fan running time is greatly reduced, saving a significant amount of energy. Turning systems down or off is often the most cost effective approach to saving energy.
  • Facilities Services is in the midst of a multi-year project to upgrade exterior lighting throughout campus. Existing light fixtures will be replaced with new, more energy efficient fixtures and, in poorly lit areas, new light fixtures will be installed. The new light fixtures will reduce light pollution by directing most of the light downward where it is needed as opposed to the previous light fixtures that distributed light uniformly in all directions. This more efficient lighting allows for the use of lower wattage bulbs and decreases overall power consumption per light fixture. In addition, all of the new lighting will be connected to the campus’ central Building Automation System (BAS) which will allow Facilities Services to centrally control and monitor all of the lighting, leading to more efficient use and maintenance throughout campus.