University of Vermont

Energy Management

Energy Efficiency Projects

Since the University of Vermont established an energy policy in 1990, projects in energy efficiency and smarter energy use have avoided an estimated $1.6 million in electricity costs in 2003 alone. UVM's Energy Management Office in the Physical Plant Department oversees these projects. Funding comes from a $125,000 revolving load fund established in 1992, from bonds in 1995, 1998, and 2002 totaling $2.5million, and by taking longer term and life cycle costs into account in new building construction. The efficiency projects have been conducted with assistance from the Burlington Electric Department (Under Efficiency Vermont) and Vermont Gas Systems, which provide rebates and technical assistance for energy efficiency and conservation.

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  • Centralized Building Controls:

    Most large campus buildings are tied into a centralized control system at the campus heating plant. The temperature and ventilation on the buildings are controlled through time and scheduling programs with specified set points. What this means is that there is now a fail-safe for lights and thermometers that are left on during non-use hours. Not only will this save energy by eliminating human error, but it also provides a consistent way to control the energy use of all major buildings. The program is migrating to an ethernet backbone for control, and eventually it will be able to viewed from anywhere, not just at the plant. Overall this gives the University a new level of sophistication and organization for energy control.
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  • Water Conservation:

    To reduce water usage in the residence halls, low-flow showerheads (operating at 1.5 gpm) and low-flow sink aerators (operating at 0.5 - 0.33 gpm) are used.
  • Blue Lights:

    The 138 blue light voice communication units covering the UVM campus create an environment students can feel safe in. Each unit is illuminated by a blue light for easy location and contains two communication buttons. The black button connects the user with a UVM Information Operator. When the red button is pressed, UVM Police Services is contacted through a recorded, official 911 line. When red buttons on multiple lights are pressed in succession, Police Services can track which have been pressed and follow the path this creates. Pressing the red button also causes the blue light to go into a flashing strobe mode. For more information, click here.
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  • Efficient Hockey Rink:

    Even UVM's hockey rink has aspects of energy efficiency. The ice rink technology contains an advanced filtration system that removes 95% of the impurities in the water used to make the rink ice. The filtered water allows for improvements over old ice systems. Pure ice is harder, and our ice does not need to be as thick as conventional systems. Entire ice thickness can be reduced to approximately .5" - 1", using less water in ice formation and rink maintenance. The ice can also be maintained at higher temperatures than ice formed with lower quality ice. Typically UVM's ice pad can be kept 2 - 4 degrees warmer, with 1 degree representing an energy savings in cooling of about 6%.
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  • IPAC(TM) Cooling System:

    The UVM heating plant was retrofitted with a IPAC(TM) cooling system during the 2002-2003 academic year. This system was primarily established to maintain a consistent cooling method for the boiler feedpumps, but the added benefit is that it conserves water and electricity over the old system. Waste water is no longer dumped "down the drain" after use; it is now recycled and reused to cool the pumps. Overall, this system saves 690,900 cubic feet of water and an estimated $40,000 per year over the previous technology.
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  • Efficient Washing Machines:

    In August of 2003 the Physical Plant, in coordination with Mac Gray Contractors, replaced all of the laundry washing machines on campus with Maytag, Neptune TM high-efficiency washers. These washers consume 50% less water and 40% less electricity per load than the old ones. They are Energy Star rated and each machine can save up to $150 per year.
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  • Light Emitting Diode (LED) Exit Signs:

    The emergency exit signs in every campus building were replaced during the 2003-2004 school year. Each emergency exit is now equipped with an energy efficient LED sign. By code, the signs are required to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With a total of 3000 signs on campus, and the old signs running at 40 - 100 watts, the new 2 watt LED signs are providing a significant energy savings. Each sign cost around $50, but with a rebate from the Burlington Electric Department of approximatly $25 per sign, cost savings are significant as well. Currently, 1/4 watt light panels will be used for all new construction, at about $100 a piece. However the rebate will remain the same.
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  • Campus Lighting Upgrades:

    All major buildings on campus have had lighting upgrades to T-8 or Compact Fluorescent light bulbs. Incandescent lights are no longer installed on campus. These lighting upgrades provide a notable savings over the old lights. Currently, a new wave of upgrades to Ultra T-8 has occurred in Stafford Hall and the Central Heating Plant. These ultra efficient bulbs offer 10-12 percent savings over the conventional T-8 models, and will be used for all bulb replacements where applicable. Overall, energy management at UVM is constantly looking for the most efficient and cost effective lighting options on the market. here for compact fluorescent, T-8, and ultra T-8 product information.
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  • Energy Efficient Mini- Fridges:

    The UVM Bookstore began offering energy efficient mini-fridges for sale to students in September of 2003. Since refrigerators are the largest energy using appliance in residence halls, the impact on overall energy use could be significant. It is estimated that if all students switched from conventional mini fridges to the efficient models being sold by the bookstore, 75,000 kilowatt hours would be saved each year, and 67,000 thousand fewer pounds of CO2 would be released into the atmosphere.
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  • Motor Upgrades:

    The campus energy standard for new buildings and major renovations to ventilation fans (like the ones used in campus bathrooms) is to install high efficiency or premium motors for heating, cooling, and ventilation. These efficient motors offer a energy savings of 25-33% and the pay back is on average three to four years.
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  • Occupancy Sensors:

    Lights and localized fan systems (those fans not controlled by a buildings heating or cooling system) can be controlled during office hours by sensors that monitor a room's occupancy. These sensors detect the presence of people by either ultrasonic or infrared detection, and are most useful in bathrooms, kitchens, break rooms, or in some classrooms where occupancy is sparatic. They are yet another management strategy utilized by UVM that can prevent wasted energy. One basic unit costs $50-75 installed, and usually has a pay back of about five years. Currently these sensors have been installed in the Physical Plant, and the major campus buildings.
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  • Sleep Mode (TM):

    As part of the "10% Challenge" campaign for the University, the UVM Environmental Council and the Physical Plant are sponsoring a program to install the Sleep Mode software on university and personal computers on campus. This software automatically turns off a monitor, which significantly lowers the energy use of a PC. This program is more effective than screen saver programs, which don't actually shut off a monitor. Overall the programs could save 1.6 million kWh per year if all 8,000 PC's on campus have the program installed. For more details, click here.
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  • Thermostat Setbacks:

    Campus buildings that are not controlled by the centralized environmental control system were retrofitted with programmable thermostats in the fall of 2003. These thermostats save energy by turning down heating and cooling systems while buildings are not in use. UVM also has a standard for environment control: 68 degrees during building use and 62 degrees when the buildings are not in use.
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  • Vending Miser:

    Campus vending machines received a recent energy retrofit in 2003. All machines (that do not contain perishable foods) now have built in motion sensors that power down the lighting and cooling systems after 15 minutes of inactivity. In extended periods of non-use, the machines periodically power on the refrigerating systems to keep the refreshments cool. Annually, UVM's soda machines consume 299,447 kWh at a cost of $20,961. Installation of VendingMisers(tm) will reduce the consumption to 161,527 kWh the first year. Over five years, the savings will be $48,275. One vending miser reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 2,200 pounds of CO2 each year. With eighty VendingMisers(tm) now on campus, UVM will prevent 176,000 pounds of CO2. For more details, click here.
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  • Used Motor Oil Reuse:

    The UVM Physical Plant Automotive Shop now has a new heating system to help it through the Vermont winters. An EPA approved "Clean Burn" used oil heating furnace was purchased and now supplies the shop with heating needs. It is fueled with the 600-1000 gallons of waste oil that the shop previously disposed of every year. It takes waste engine oil, transmission fluid, and hydraulic fluid; alleviating the costs of heating the shop and the removing of fluids from University vehicles.
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Last modified November 08 2010 01:51 PM

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