University Energy Conservation Initiatives
The following memorandum was sent on January 3, 2006 to the campus community on behalf of Mark Burstein, Executive Vice President.
Subject: Energy Conservation- University initiatives and how you can help.
As you know, energy prices have risen sharply over the past two years, and recent events make it likely that this trend will continue. The University has stepped up efforts to conserve energy. To succeed, however, these efforts require the cooperation of all of us. This note will update you on what we are doing and let you know how you can assist.
1. Conserving Energy
We have examined every portion of the campus to see how we can save energy. As a result, we’ve undertaken new projects and measures. Many of these are invisible such as adding insulation to steam pipes in tunnels. Others you will notice. For example, we have recently installed motion sensors in several buildings on campus, and will be expanding the program to many other buildings. These sensors turn lights on when there is movement in an office or hallway and turn them off when the area is unoccupied.
Many of you have suggested that we should reexamine the temperature targets for our buildings. In response, we have established new targets, and this is another area where we will need your help. Except in research labs and a few other locations which require specific temperature ranges, all centrally controlled facilities will now be heated to 68 in the winter and cooled to 78 in the summer when occupied. Some people may find it more comfortable to wear a sweater to work this winter. Please do not bring in and operate electric space heaters. These units consume large amounts of power and can cause significant temperature control problems for other rooms that operate off the same heating system.
Laboratories use lots of energy. Please close fume hood sashes whenever possible to minimize the amount of conditioned air that is exhausted to the outside. Each fume hood consumes approximately $3,000-$4,000 of energy per year.
Here’s another place we need your help: room schedules affect our temperature control program. With classrooms, lecture halls, and other spaces, we turn on heating and cooling when we expect them to be in use. Please make sure your department manager knows how such spaces are being scheduled so that we can adjust the temperature accordingly – we don’t want to pump them full of heat or chill them when they are empty.
Finally, the best way to conserve energy is for everyone to participate. The obvious solutions are still the best: Please, turn off lights when not in use and report excessive heating or cooling as well as any leaks you may observe. (Contact the Facilities Helpdesk at 8-8000 or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.) And if you have other ideas about how to conserve energy, please send them to Tom Nyquist, Director of Engineering, at email@example.com.
2. Making Buildings More Efficient
New construction and major renovations present opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of the campus for the long term. For each building at Princeton, engineers develop computer energy models early in the design phase and actively seek opportunities to improve energy efficiency. We have already raised our building standards with regards to energy efficiency significantly. We now require, for example, high efficiency motors and lights, occupancy sensors, variable speed motor controllers, high efficiency coiling coils, and individual dorm room temperature controls. We are also buying appliances that have the “energy star” rating.
With outside assistance as well as collaboration with faculty in the various departments, we are working to develop new standards that incorporate best practices in design and technology from other universities and companies. The focus is to make the entire process of designing, building and operating our new buildings more “green” – and not just focus on the mechanical and electrical systems. Please contact Tom Nyquist, Director of Engineering, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or suggestions about this effort.
3. Reducing the Cost of Energy
With the help of the Treasurer and Vice President for Finance, Chris McCrudden, the Facilities Department has been exploring ways to protect against future increases in the cost of energy. For example, we are looking into contracts that would cap the possible price increases we face. In addition, we just completed the construction of a new chilled water storage tank that allows the university to produce chilled water for cooling at night, when power is inexpensive, and use it during the day when it is expensive to produce. We anticipate that this operation will save $500,000-$700,000 per year in electricity costs. Finally, we were able to save $60,000 this past summer by buying some power a day in advance.
We are also trying to time our purchases, especially during the summer, to avoid the high prices that are charged at peak periods. We ask that you please be patient during these few periods when we cut back air conditioning and request that lighting in large areas be reduced. These reductions have saved the university approximately $100,000 in fiscal year 2005.
With everyone’s help, we can save energy and free resources for other important initiatives. Please contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Executive Vice President