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It's not easy being green! - Kermit T. Frog   Home Colleges & Universities 12 Steps toward Sustainability Energy Conservation & Energy Efficiency

Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency
Universities are large scale electric consumers and can minimize their environmental impact by implementing energy saving strategies by improved management of heating, lighting and electricity consumption.
  Organizational Assistance   Best Practices  
  • Track Use and Cost
    Develop and maintain energy use databases, updated with every purchase, which track energy consumption by fuel type. These can help administrators better manage energy consumption by identifying high-use facilities. In addition, ensure that school financial policy uses consolidated billing in which energy bills are paid on a monthly basis in order to make them easy to track. Also consider tracking a campus's environmental impact by evaluating green house gas emissions through an e-calculator.
  • Meter & Sub-meter
    Install meters on every building which track electricity consumption. Visible metering helps students, faculty, and administrators track and manage their energy consumption while generating awareness about energy usage. It is impossible to manage what is not measured.
  • Benchmark
    Benchmarking is a measure of energy usage for a specific building which normalizes calculations based on factors such as the building's size, the services provided by a building, the number of occupants, and BTU’s per square foot in order to compare different buildings. To make comparisons easier, the EPA maintains rating systems for office buildings and residence halls. Buildings in the top 25% of all buildings in their class can receive an ENERGY STAR award if they meet air quality requirements. Consequently, ENERGY STAR awards are also good for a campus’s image.
  • Life Cycle Cost Analysis
    Life Cycle Cost Analysis means considering more than just the initial first cost when buying or building. In Life Cycle Cost Analysis, all of the costs of using something are considered, including energy. When constructing new buildings on campus, it is prudent to always construct buildings that use energy and water efficiently. Buildings on college campuses can be expected to have long operational lives of often half a century or more. By constructing buildings to highly energy-efficient standards, energy savings over time will pay for the added costs of construction many times over.
  • Renovation and Retrofit
    When it is cost effective to do so, make weatherization, lighting and other efficiency upgrades to buildings. These improvements save energy and money. When renovating an old building, consider installing newer, more efficient equipment. Such capital projects represent long-term investments in energy efficiency, but not all energy efficiency projects need to be intrusive or expensive. Sometimes energy savings can be gained by simply changing an incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent, or replacing old equipment with ENERGY STAR-rated equivalents. When immediate replacement is not cost effective, replace equipment as equipment breaks down.
  • Participate in Existing Utility Programs
    Many federal, state and local utilities sponsor energy conservation programs. Take full opportunity of possible grants and funds intended to lower your campus's energy usage. This kind of assistance makes the payback period on investing in energy efficiency and conservation much shorter.
  • Encourage Student Involvement
    Many programs designed to conserve energy cannot be implemented without student involvement. Educate students about energy consumption and its impact on the environment as well as what it costs them as consumers. Hold energy conservation contests between dormitories. At the end of these contests give prizes to create an incentive to conserve energy. Also, encourage students to purchase energy-efficient products for their individual rooms.
  • Investigate Performance Contracts
    Performance contracts enable energy consumers and businesses to overcome the high initial cost of some energy efficiency improvements. Typically, the contractor installs the energy saving equipment and pays for all of the initial cost. Subsequently, the contractor is repaid through energy savings by the customer over a period of time. The result is that the consumer saves money while paying for their own system.
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