Incentive program rewards campus buildings for energy conservation

The Undergraduate Library and the Atmospheric Sciences Building will be announced as the first-place winners of a campus-wide Energy Conservation Incentive Program at a ceremony Friday.

The ECIP is a new program that rewards campus buildings for putting effort into reducing the amount of energy used. Designed by Facilities and Services, the program measured each building on campus with specialized meters and determined which of them conserved the most energy in the 2013 fiscal year. 

There are eight winners total, four buildings per category, awarded money for reducing energy consumption. 

Facilities and Services does a number of things to conserve energy at a systems level, said Morgan Johnston, sustainability coordinator of the Facilities and Services, but there comes a point where they can only do so much. 

“We need the people on campus to participate in our energy conservation efforts,” she said.

Johnston explained that occupants of the buildings participated in the program through activities such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, shutting down computers at night, removing unnecessary refrigerators, switching to specialized appliances and eliminating space heaters.

“It’s neat because of personal responsibility,” said Steven Breitwieser, media communications specialist at Facilities and Services.

The steam, electricity and chilled water energy that are used on campus all are associated with greenhouse gas emissions. The program ensures that the growing campus continues to reduce the amounts of energy used, Johnson said.

Mike Marquissee manages Facilities and Services’ Utilities and Energy Services division on campus and served as scorekeeper for the energy use of more than 260 buildings.

“We take the readings for the previous fiscal year and compare them to the current fiscal year and measure the difference,” Marquissee said.

Two categories divide the winners. The Energy Advancement category includes buildings that reduced energy use due to central funding from an energy conservation project. Those buildings in the other category, Occupant Action, are not funded by any project and rely solely on the occupants of the building to affect change.

This year’s first place winner of the Occupant Action category was the Undergraduate Library, which decreased its energy usage by 35.2 percent.

The Undergraduate Library will receive a $50,000 reward plus a percentage of the money saved from energy reduction. All financial rewards received by the winners are to be put toward building renovations or further environmental improvements, Johnston said.

The Atmospheric Sciences Building is the first place winner in the Energy Advancement category and has decreased its energy usage by 53.3 percent. The building will receive a portion of the funds that were not used on energy consumption.

“We just hope to make people’s lives better and reward their contributions for conservation,” Marquissee said.

Zila can be reached at [email protected]