Energy education in laboratories will address over time three areas of campus energy management: reducing electricity consumption in labs, balancing lab ventilation needs with safety considerations, and implementing a laboratory building recommissioning program. By lowering energy use on campus through this initiative, the University of Vermont can reduce its climate impact while saving financial resources.
Laboratories use energy in the form of electricity and space heating/cooling at much higher rates than other building types on campus. They are also crucial aspects of university research, and efforts to improve lab energy use involve academic, administrative, and operations stakeholders. Conservation and outreach programs aimed at electricity use in labs involve purchase of Energy Star equipment, timed-operation of energy intensive equipment, and alternative cold storage techniques. Ventilation programs focus on developing a lab ventilation management plan along with infrastructure upgrades and outreach to improve behavior regarding lab space ventilation. FInally, a laboratory building recommissioning program is aimed at evaluating and re-tooling existing buildings to maximize energy efficiency.
A poster on UVM climate action and labs was presented to communicate the need for this initiative to lab occupants and key university stakeholders (see attachment below). In addition, a paper was published describing a conceptual model for laboratory ventilation greenhouse gas planning.
The first step in this initiative will be to address plug loads of major laboratory equipment, with the 2012-2013 Green Labs project funded by the Clean Energy Fund.