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Energy Demand

With rising energy costs and the construction of new buildings, the University's annual energy bill now tops $85 million. Energy use at UNC has declined 20 percent per square foot since 2003, despite a square foot expansion of 50% in the same period, saving the University $64 million. This has created a clear need for active energy management and conservations. In 2008, a new Energy Management Department was formed within the Facilities Services Division to consolidate energy saving functions. A new campus energy policy and aggressive conservation measures adopted in 2009 are projected to increase energy savings significantly.

Historical improvements have focused primarily on hardware upgrades. These include more efficient lighting systems, motors, air handlers, and controls. Since 2000, half the square footage on UNC’s campus has been affected by some type of substantial energy project. The buildings are either brand new, have been comprehensively renovated or retro-commissioned, or have received a major lighting or HVAC upgrade.

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Lighting

Lighting consumes 25 to 30 percent of the electricity in classroom and office buildings and is a high priority for efficiency upgrades. Over the past 15 years, all of the overhead lighting on campus has been converted from inefficient T-12 light tubes with magnetic ballasts to smaller diameter T-8 or T-5 light tubes with electronic ballasts. The result is better light, a 20% savings in electrical consumption, and substantially reduced maintenance calls. Ninety percent of building mechanical rooms have been equipped with timers to turn off the lights. Forty percent of common spaces, such as restrooms, break rooms, and conference rooms, contain occupancy sensors.  Recent improvements in the cost and efficacy of LEDs have encouraged the University to begin testing a variety of fixture types on campus, both indoor and outdoor.  Electric costs at the LED-lit Bell Tower Parking Deck are so much lower than at other decks that Parking Services plans to convert all decks to LED lighting.

Standard, screw-in incandescent lights bulbs have been eliminated in all campus buildings and desk lamps. They were replaced with more than 4,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs that use only one-quarter of the electricity and last many times longer. The next generation of lighting technology, known as LED for light emitting diodes, is currently being tested in multiple locations.

Resources:
Energy Efficient Lighting Policy
CFL Bulb Disposal Instructions

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Operating Efficiencies

Building energy consumption accounts for 90% of campus greenhouse gas emissions, so managing existing buildings better is key to reducing Carolina's carbon footprint. Many current and future energy efficiency improvements are focused on building automation system controls, operating protocols, and individual behaviors.  In 2009, UNC Energy Management launched an aggressive campaign against energy waste in all areas of campus. Their strategic demand-side energy management plan completed in 2009 evaluated and modeled energy performance in 20 existing buildings. It then extrapolated this analysis to the 86 largest buildings on campus that represent 85 percent of campus energy use. In addition to existing conditions, multiple energy conservation measures were also modeled in these 20 buildings. After implementing these low-cost energy conservation measures, total savings have swelled to $10 million.

With today’s complex building automation systems, performance improvements are often as likely to come from tweaking the software as from turning a wrench. Regular recalibration of equipment and systems, broader temperature ranges that correspond with the seasons, setting back air handling systems when buildings are unoccupied, and reprogramming building automation systems can result in major savings.

In 2010, UNC entered the EPA's first annual Working Off the Waste Competition.  UNC's Morrison Dormitory won the national competition, reducing energy use by 36% and preventing 733 metric tons of greenhouse gas emission during the course of the competition on a budget of less than $35,000.

Resources:
Energy Policy
2011 Strategic Energy and Water Plan
2010 Strategic Energy and Water Plan
2009 Strategic Energy and Water Plan
2008 Strategic Energy and Water Plan
2007 Strategic Energy and Water Plan
Interactive map of energy conservation features on campus

Links:
UNC Energy Management - http://save-energy.unc.edu

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Energy Management Control System

Real time steam and chilled water metering in virtually every building on campus have recently been joined by real time electric metering.  The new dashboard system, tracking 157 buildings, enables users to monitor both current and historical energy use. Occupants, building managers, and energy technicians will be able to compare consumption from one day, week, month, and year to the previous time interval as they pursue new energy conservation opportunities. Knowing how much of each type of energy each building consumes, and when, enables more accurate billing, alerts operators to equipment problems, and provides the potential to analyze the effectiveness of energy conservation efforts. UNC will soon have one of the largest databases of building performance and energy data in the world.

Resources:
Morrison Residence Hall Building Dashboard
Real-time Steam Data (available only to campus users)

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Behavioral Change

Promoting responsible energy consumption is a cornerstone of UNC's energy conservation program. To learn more about these efforts, please visit the Behavior Change page.

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