On Sustainability Day, October 26, 2011, I established an energy conservation goal of 5 percent for fiscal year 2011-12. I would like to provide an update on our results to date.
From July 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012, UNCG energy use decreased 6.27 percent when compared to the same period in FY 2010-11. This occurred even as we have added a net of approximately 44,000 square feet of occupied building space. The decrease can be attributed to many factors, including various programs and policies that have been created or expanded this year, as well as weather conditions.
The implementation of the new Standards of Comfort policy began in December 2011 and has taken effect in 11 buildings as of May 7, 2012. The remaining campus buildings will be under the new standards by the end of summer 2012. Spartan Sparks, the behavior-based conservation effort, was launched in 19 buildings across the campus and has generated discussions about energy efficiency practices in these buildings. Ideas produced from these discussions include encouraging individual departments to establish goals for energy conservation, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, and removing unnecessary light fixtures. More than 30 offices have joined the Green Office Certification program to promote sustainability in office environments; energy conservation is a cornerstone of this program as well. The nationally-recognized Vampire Energy Slayers campaign continues, giving student volunteers the opportunity to teach employees about the environmental and financial consequences of vampire energy.
UNCG also continued to implement technological improvements to assist in energy conservation. Almost 1,200 lighting fixtures in Ragsdale-Mendenhall, Moore-Strong, and Spencer Residence Halls were replaced with high efficiency fixtures through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. This retrofit is projected to reduce electrical consumption in those buildings by more than 15 percent. A pilot program of occupancy-based controls was implemented on the second floor of Moore residence hall, generating a reduction in electrical use of 35.8 percent when compared to the third floor. Finally, Facilities Operations upgraded 591 fixtures and installed 90 occupancy sensors in Curry Building during its renovation, improvements that are estimated to save approximately $15,630 annually.
Weather conditions have also aided our cause, particularly the mild winter. Should FY 2012-13 have more challenging weather, maintaining and improving on our successes in FY 2011-12 will be difficult. Adding to this challenge will be the reopening of the seven newly renovated Quad Buildings, which were not air conditioned previously.
To maintain our progress toward our energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, the campus community must be even more engaged on energy conservation in their respective areas. I want to encourage the entire university community to strengthen our commitment to energy conservation by adopting business practices that contribute to the reduction of UNCG’s carbon footprint.