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Saving energy, one work station at a time

Apr. 11, 2013

IU Bloomington saved $189,117 in campus electrical usage last month compared with the same time period in 2012.

The result of the savings for the billing period, which ended March 21, proves that small gestures  of conservation -- turning off unused lights, computer monitors, printers and other sources of electricity -- can add up to big energy savings. Peak energy usage was 9,203 kW less than last year’s peak of 35,347 kW.

hand turning off light switch

IU Bloomington saved $189,117 in campus electrical usage last month compared with the same time period in 2012. Faculty and staff members are asked to do their part by shutting off, powering down or unplugging unecessary items when possible.

Doug Trueblood, assistant manager of operations and preventive maintenance at the Physical Plant, said cooler weather helped decrease energy used, but that efforts by IU’s building occupants across campus made the difference. When temperature and humidity conditions are conducive to establishing a new electrical demand peak  for a billing period, he said, that will be communicated to building representatives through email.

Unseasonably warm temperatures and humidity cause the university’s building “chillers” to automatically spike, undermining energy efficiency efforts, said Peggy Maschino, associate director of business affairs at the Physical Plant. Warm temperature forecasts for this week prompted a new call for conservation (between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.) like one issued April 9.

Individual employees are asked to support the university’s conservation efforts by turning off all electricity sources in their work spaces and unplugging coffee makers, lights, computers and other plugged-in items before leaving work.

“In the summer, when its 95 degrees every day, energy use is at about the same level every day -- it’s not a real opportunity to save money,” Maschino said. This time of year, referred to as the “shoulder months” between winter and summer, present a greater opportunity for savings because of milder climates, she said -- though one hot day can throw a whole month off if the systems are left to work on their own without intervention from building staff.

Want to be included in future calls for conservation to help shave the peak electrical demand? Follow IUSustain on Twitter.


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