What's it all about?

It takes a lot of natural resources to create a dynamic learning environment for 50,000 students, 21,000 faculty and staff, and countless visitors. In FY 2007, utility costs for The University of Texas at Austin, including the main campus, downtown office space and Pickle Research Campus were close to $54 million for natural gas, electricity, and water.

Controlling these costs requires us to generate energy efficiently. The university has improved the operational efficiency of the university’s central plant, which supports our campus-wide energy needs.

But, that’s not the whole story. Effectively managing energy and water demand must include promoting a campus-wide culture of sustainability and conservation.

Meeting Challenges

We face several challenges in holding the line on energy and water expenditures:

  • Escalating energy costs
  • Declining state funding
  • Campus expansion
  • Aging facilities and equipment
  • Increasing campus demand for energy and water

That’s why the university initiated UTakeCharge and formed Conservation Action Teams to support various aspects of demand-side energy management and conservation.

Reinvesting in Our Future

Carbon footprint reduction and cost savings benefits from energy and water projects and campus outreach will accrue as these efforts continue.

  • The projects alone will save over $2.7 million per year after completion in January 2009. Energy and water savings from the lighting, water, and steam upgrade projects are measured and verified using protocols based on industry standards.
  • Savings are expected to pay for current demand-side energy projects in less than six years and will then be reinvested in ongoing energy and water conservation efforts.