Climate Change

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 approximately $2M annually 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.

Smart energy Living Pyramid

UCCS has adopted the Smart Energy Living ® Pyramid as a guiding energy management principle as well as an educational tool.

Energy Conservation is about user behavior and the actions that we can take every day to reduce energy use at work and at home: turning off lights when not needed, powergin off and unplugging computers and other electronics when not being used, turning down the themrostats, taking shorter showers and more.

Energy Efficiency is technology that helps us reduce our energy use: more efficient CFL or LED lighbulbs, occupancy and vacancy sensors, energy-efficient mechanical and HVAC systems and applicances, and more.

Renewable Energy is  the final piece of the pyramid.  After reducing as much energy as we can from conservation and efficicency, UCCS strives to incoporate as much renewable energy, currently from solar thermal, solar photovoltaic,and wind, to our energy portfololio.

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'.

Mandatory Utility Containment Committee

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.

Colorado Springs Utilities Audit

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 by purchasing ENERGY STAR® products when available. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that identifies and promotes energy efficient products and buildings for American consumers, businesses, and organizations to help reduce energy consumption, reduce pollution in the form of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and decrease environmental impact. Read the UCCS ENERGY STAR policy here.

Energy Performance Bond

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.

Highlights of Energy Performance Bond Projects

Lighting Retrofit

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.

Digital Direct Controls

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.

Chiller Replacement for Dwire Hall

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.