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3 Steps Toward Achieving Your Climate Commitment

Jun 8

Written by:
6/8/2015 9:26 AM  RssIcon

To date, 684 college and university presidents have made the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment.  These institutions have detailed Climate Action Plans to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by a specific date.

If your college or university has made this commitment, or if you are a contractor working with an institution that is striving to achieve this goal, these three steps can help you achieve it.

1. Identify the Energy Hogs

The largest share of primary energy consumption is the buildings sector. (U.S. DOE)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the largest share of primary energy consumption is the buildings sector at 41%. Almost half of this energy is used for heating, cooling and lighting buildings.

Most likely, HVAC and lighting are big energy hogs on your campus too – and major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Inventory Campus Systems

Like many institutions, your college or university may have already switched to energy-efficient light bulbs, installed occupancy sensors to control lighting in bathrooms, and established energy conservation campaigns to change student and staff habits.

Many colleges and universities have upgraded their HVAC systems to centralized building automation systems (BAS) to give facility managers more control over scheduling HVAC. Often, variable air volume (VAV) boxes and variable frequency drives (VFD) are also installed to permit reducing air flow and slowing down ventilation fans to save energy.

One system that is often overlooked when working toward environmental goals is the room scheduling system.

But one system that is often overlooked when working toward environmental goals is the room scheduling system. Most institutions schedule classes and events on campus using room scheduling software. If your campus uses scheduling software such as Dean Evans EMS, CollegeNet R25, AsureSpace, or something similar, count that as one of your greenhouse gas reduction assets when you inventory your campus systems.

3. Maximize the Potential of Campus Systems

Unfortunately, most facility managers do not have time to schedule HVAC or lighting for every individual class or event in their BAS. Instead, they schedule entire buildings, returning HVAC equipment to unoccupied settings only at night. This has helped reduce energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions at night, but it does not achieve the full potential of these advanced HVAC technologies.

To maximize the potential of building technologies, you must return HVAC and lighting to unoccupied settings between events during the day.

To maximize the potential of these technologies, you must return HVAC and lighting to unoccupied settings between events during the day. This is where your room scheduling software becomes an energy efficiency tool.

Your room scheduling software can be integrated to your BAS, effectively creating HVAC and lighting schedules for each class or event on campus. VAV boxes, VFDs, and other HVAC equipment will automatically return to unoccupied settings at the end of each event; and you can pre-start equipment to make sure rooms are comfortable when events begin. Lighting and electronic door locks can also be integrated in this way.

This is a simple integration with a big impact. It reduces the amount of time facility managers spend scheduling HVAC in their BAS, while simultaneously eliminating energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with heating, cooling, and lighting empty rooms. Using this strategy, you can maximize the value of the investments your campus has already made and get closer to achieving your climate commitment.

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