What We're Doing

To create a culture of sustainable energy management and conservation within the campus community, the UTakeCharge program communicates information about major university projects that will replace inefficient or under-performing lighting, steam and water equipment.

Auditing and Upgrading

Facilities Services oversaw audits of water, steam and lighting equipment from December 2007 through March 2008. Audit teams covered 12.6 million square feet of educational and general space on the main campus and J. J. Pickle Research Campus, including buildings that were constructed as long ago as the late 1800s. Many of these older buildings operate outdated and inefficient systems. The audits identified the need to repair or replace 6,000 plumbing fixtures, 200,000 lighting fixtures, and 420 steam traps and radiator valves.

Through upgrades to the inefficient energy, steam and water equipment identified in the audits, we are

  • Reducing consumption
  • Lowering ongoing maintenance costs
  • Improving the indoor environment

These projects have a relatively low cost, yet they will significantly reduce consumption. We expect the savings to pay for the current demand-side energy management projects in less than six years. After that, the university will reinvest the savings in ongoing energy and water conservation efforts.

Carbon footprint reduction and cost savings benefits will begin as projects get underway, with full benefits reached as we complete them. Future projects and ongoing promotion of conservation will build on these energy and water saving efforts.

Measuring Our Success

We have used a measurement and verification program* based on industry standards to measure and verify energy and water savings for the projects. For details about savings related to the specific projects, visit our Project Update or the individual Lighting, Steam or Water projects.

Reductions of CO2 emissions accomplished by our demand-side energy and water projects have been translated into equivalent usage in homes and vehicles as well as equivalent acres of pine and fir forests storing carbon (in the form of cellulose, lignin, and other compounds). Inputs for the conversions are CO2 emissions from the university's electric power production and Environmental Protection Agency conversion factors. View this Greenhouse Gas Reductions chart to see the translations.