From a sustainability perspective, energy is arguably the most important resource that we manage. Campus energy use from electricity and natural gas sources generate two-thirds of our campus greenhouse gas emissions. The university spends $1.75M each year on electricity and natural gas; however, future supplies and costs of these invaluable resources are unpredictable. For these reasons and others, it is imperative that we manage our energy consumption diligently and pursue alternative, renewable sources of energy.
The 2007 Sustainability Strategic Plan put forward the following objective with regard to energy:
Recognizing the seriousness of global climate change, UCCS will strive to reduce its contribution to greenhouse gases by reducing energy use, increasing energy efficiency and pursuing the use of renewable energy.
With a growing campus, reducing total energy consumption is an elusive challenge. UCCS is focusing its efforts on reducing its Energy Use Intensity (EUI), the rate of energy used per square foot, by targeting energy efficiency in new buildings and conducting conservation campaigns and retrofit projects in existing buildings. Between 2005 and 2009, UCCS applied a $1.3 million Energy Performance Bond toward energy and water efficiency projects. This program provides approximately $75,000 in savings per year and more than $76,000 in one-time rebates from Colorado Springs Utilities.
To view campus energy use, access the UCCS utility managment system here. Use 'uccs' for 'Username', 'Password', and 'Datasource'.
Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak, motivated by the statewide fiscal challenges, charged the creation of this committee to provide integrated, comprehensive strategies to reduce utility costs on the campus. Directors and Facilities staff throughout the campus are examining technical, operational, and behavioral strategies to reduce energy and water use. Building proctors have been identified in each of the buildings to assist with conservation strategies.
The Facilities Resource Conservation Group partnered with Colorado Springs Utilities to conduct a free audit of 4 UCCS buildings to identify low and no cost measures to increase efficiency. Operating and maintenance projects were identified and Facilities staff meets monthly to update and pursue energy efficiency measures.
UCCS is a state university and therefore is charged by the State of Colorado "to take a position of leadership in the new energy economy. State government will reduce energy consumption, increase the use of renewable energy sources, increase the energy efficiency and decrease the environmental impact of the state vehicle fleet, implement environmental purchasing standards and reduce waste and increase recycling." On April, 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., signed the Greening of State Government Executive Orders D011 07 and D012 07, which sets a goal of reducing energy use from 2007 levels by 20% on or before June 30, 2012. So far, UCCS is on target to achieve this goal, with a reduction in energy use of ~20%, as shown in the chart below:
(Note: Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is a standardized method for measuring the energy use of buildings. Energy consumption from different sources, such as electricity or natural gas, is standardized to a common unit, usually British thermal units (Btu). Then the energy use in Btu's is divided by the square footage to give the EUI, which can then be used to measure and compare different buildings.)
In 2005, after completing a comprehensive technical energy audit of 1.2 million SF of general funded and auxiliary facilities, UCCS secured a $1.3 million bond for energy and resource conservation projects. The audit identified energy savings measures, comprised mainly of heating, cooling, and lighting, that contain life cycle cost benefits for the University. The project will reduce UCCS' energy requirements over an 18-year payback period with generated savings expected to repay the debt.
The first phase of the UCCS lighting retrofit targeted five buildings, Science, Engineering, University Hall, University Center, and Eagle Rock, for retrofits of T-12 fluorescent lamps to T-8 lamps and the replacement of magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts. Almost all of the remaining buildings on campus already have T-8 lighting. This retrofit is expected to provide approximately 40% in energy savings (for lighting) in these buildings, improve illumination in many areas, and reduce our carbon footprint (the amount of CO2 released from burning coal to generate electricity). Project details are as follows:
|Total Project Cost||$114,058|
|Colorado Springs Utilities Rebates||$40,736|
|Simple Payback||2.56 years|
|Anticipated Savings Per Year||$28,809|
|Reduced CO2 (greenhouse gas)/yr||641,758 lbs.|
Additional lighting projects underway are:
• Retrofit of exit signs with .95 Watt LED lights, a significant savings over incandescent lamps,
• Retrofit of all incandescent cam lights with compact fluorescent lamps,
• Future lighting projects include occupancy sensors, photocells, and vending machine misers.
UCCS is currently installing a campus-wide Direct Digital Control (DDC) network to optimize energy savings, ensure consistent temperature control, and maintain the critical building HVAC systems. This system will provide standardization for all critical campus DDC systems, web access for remote monitoring, scheduling, and maintenance, and monitoring of electric meters for complex reporting and analysis of the long term performance and potential for energy savings.Instituting these Energy Management Control strategies is expected to provide energy savings of 10-15% for the included buildings.
The Energy Performance Bond includes some projects to replace old, inefficient mechanical equipment with newer, more efficient units. As part of the Dwire Hall renovation, the chiller was upgraded and includes an evaporative pre-cooling system to reduce peak demand loads and energy use. The evaporative pre-cooling system uses the cooling power of evaporation along with our semi-arid climate to reduce energy and demand for large air-cooled systems.