Energy Conservation

Over the past several years, Facilities Services has implemented Energy Savings Initiatives (ESI) resulting in annual utility savings of over $400,000. As future energy prices continue to rise, the avoided utility cost due to these initiatives will also increase. The total implementation cost was approximately $1.17 million, which results in a very favorable 2.9-year simple payback. See below for a brief description and savings summary of these ESIs.

  • Nearly all incandescent lights on campus were replaced with efficient fluorescent lamps, and many older fluorescent lighting fixtures were retrofitted with more efficient lamps and ballasts. In addition, photocell, occupancy sensors, and timed switches were installed at various locations to reduce unnecessary hours of operation of existing lighting. The lighting initiatives provide an annual savings of over 5 million kWh of electricity, which translates to over $200,000 per year in electric cost savings.

 

  • VFDs were installed to control the speed of many pumps and fan motors for various Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Typically, these motors run at a constant speed needed to provide the maximum flow and therefore waste energy during partial load operation. Significant energy savings result from controlling the speed to provide only the flow needed. The VFD initiatives provide an annual savings of over 1.6 million kWh of electricity, which translates to over $63,000 per year in electric cost savings. Variable Frequency Drives are an element of the UI Design and Construction Standards and are included where appropriate in all new construction and renovation efforts.

 

  • Due to a variety of reasons, many University buildings are unnecessarily heated, cooled, and ventilated as if they were occupied 24 hours-per-day. In order to implement an unoccupied setback sequence, it is typically necessary to upgrade the existing HVAC controls, and it is often necessary to provide a supplementary cooling system for specific areas the require constant cooling such as computer server rooms. The Unoccupied Mode initiatives provide an annual savings of over 1.6 million kWh of electricity, 11,900 million Btu of heating energy, and 500 million Btu of cooling energy, which translates to over $150,000 per year in utility cost savings. (Note: a Btu is the amount of energy required to heat 1-pound of water, 1-degree Fahrenheit.)

 

  • Ten additional ESIs that include insulating steam pipes, installing premium efficiency motors, installing low flow shower heads, and a variety of upgrades to specific HVAC control systems were also implemented. These initiatives provide an annual savings of approximately 1 million kWh of electricity, 418,000 million Btu of heating energy, and 1,100 million Btu of cooling energy, which translates to over $100,000 per year in utility cost savings.

Avista Utilities, which provides natural gas and electricity to the University, offers various customer incentive programs for reducing energy usage. Facilities Services has worked with Avista in implementing the above ESIs, which to date have resulted in over $230,000 in rebates to the University.