University of Minnesota saves more than $2.25 million by reducing energy use
U's energy reduction leads to 25,000 fewer tons of CO2 being released into atmosphere
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/13/2010) —The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities has reduced its energy consumption by five percent, saving the university more than $2.25 million annually and resulting in 25,000 fewer tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. The campus' It All Adds Up conservation program, launched in 2009 by the university's Facilities Management (FM) department, set a five percent energy reduction goal for fiscal year 2010. That goal was reached at the end of March -- three months early.
U of M President Robert Bruininks and Vice President for University Services Kathleen O'Brien launched the ambitious initiative last year on Beautiful U Day. The It All Adds Up efforts show the university's commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, as well its drive to reduce costs during these difficult economic times. It All Adds Up's three-pronged strategy includes recommissioning buildings, collecting energy pledges from the campus community and identifying energy reduction opportunities in university operations.
FM's Energy Management department began an aggressive project last year to recommission 40 buildings per year for energy efficiency. Just as a mechanic can improve a car's fuel economy with a tune-up, a recommissioning team improves a building's energy efficiency. Simple, low cost measures can reduce energy consumption while maintaining or improving a building's performance. A typical recommissioning study and implementation of the resulting energy conservation opportunities will yield 5 to 15 percent in energy savings.
"Our entire team has worked diligently to meet the five percent goal -- and it's paid off," said Energy Management assistant director Jim Green. "But the work doesn't stop there. We intend to build on this success. I'm confident our engineers and technicians will continue to find new ways to make our buildings even more energy efficient."
As part of It All Adds Up, Bruininks and FM representatives challenged the university's students, faculty and staff to commit to simple energy saving habits by taking an Energy Conservation Pledge. FM set a goal of collecting 10,000 pledges from students, faculty and staff by the end of fall semester. The 10,000th pledge came on Thursday, Dec. 17.
"The campus community has expressed their desire to contribute to energy savings at the U," Bruininks said. "Ten thousand pledges show that our students, faculty and staff are just as committed as we are to saving energy and money at the U."
Finally, FM launched the Energy Conservation Operations (ECO) Team, a multi-unit task force determined to identify and implement energy reduction ideas throughout the university's overall operations. The team rolled-out its first initiative in 2009 -- a green computing pilot that could save the university $40 per machine annually. University Services computers are now run through the following step down process that conserves energy when a machine is not actively in use:
- After 10 minutes, monitor will be turned off.
- After 15 minutes, hard drive will be turned off.
- After 60 minutes, computer will enter stand-by mode. This has the largest impact on energy savings.
The combined efforts of Facilities Management's recommissioning program, the energy-saving habits adopted by students, faculty and staff and the ECO Team's operational improvements add up to big energy savings.