Wednesday, December 5, 2012

UNC Energy Management Saving Energy For The Holidays

Before leaving for any extended period, please:

1. Shut down desktop and laptop computers unless instructed otherwise by IT or administrative staff. If your computer, speakers, phone charger, etc., are all on one power strip, turn off the power strip after shutting down your computer.

2. Unplug nonessential equipment such as copiers, fax machines, printers, scanners, and chargers. Most equipment draws electricity even when turned off.

3. Unplug all appliances, including coffee makers, microwaves, televisions, and radios. Like office equipment, many appliances use electricity even when turned off.

4. Turn off office lights and as much public lighting as possible in hallways, bathrooms, break rooms, and conference rooms.

5. Check windows to make sure they are tightly closed and locked.

6. Check faucets in bathrooms and break rooms to make sure they are completely turned off and not dripping.

7. Turn down thermostats to 65 degrees. 

8. If you work in a lab with variable air volume fume hoods, shut the sash completely (just as you should any time the hood is not in use).

9. Call in any leaks or maintenance issues to your Facilities Services team (962-3456 or

These tips will help keep your building safe and energy-efficient over the holidays.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Energy Management!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Midpoint Results for UNC Chapel Hill in EPA's National Building Competition

EPA’s Battle of the Buildings fights energy waste

On Nov. 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program marked the midpoint of its 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings. In the first six months of the competition alone, the competitors together have saved more than $37 million on utility bills and prevented 130,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions – that’s equal to the electricity used by 16,000 homes annually.

Teams from more than 3,200 buildings around the country are going head-to-head in this year’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition to see who can reduce their energy use the most. The building with the largest percentage reduction in energy use, adjusted for weather and the size of the building, will be recognized as the winner in November.

Up to the midpoint, UNC Chapel Hill has seen a reduction in energy consumption of 9% at Tarrson Hall, 14% at NC AHEC Bldg, and 15% at Neurosciences Research Bldg. This is a cumulative savings of $505,918 and a prevention of 1124 metric tons of CO2 emissions!!

According to EPA, energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and energy use at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. On average, 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Thousands of businesses and organizations work with EPA’s ENERGY STAR program and are saving billions of dollars and preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering our atmosphere each year.

For complete midpoint results for all competitors, visit

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why We Worry About Windows

  1. Did you every wonder why we ask you to keep the windows closed? Well, here is a.. relatively.. short note on why. Enjoy!

    So what about opening your windows for your office on campus?

    Seems like a great idea right? Most people don’t want that musty and hot air coming from the vents when it’s nice outside. It IS nice to open your window when it’s 65 degrees outside and hear the birds and what ...not. Right? As always there’s an opposing viewpoint to opening your office windows. Those of us tasked with heating, cooling, ventilating and dehumidifying your building would rather you leave your windows closed.

    The building’s heating and cooling system performs several jobs. One is to heat and cool your space of course, but others jobs include taking the humidity out of the air and slightly pressurizing the building.

    First let’s talk about dehumidifying the air. It’s more comfortable and less likely to grow mold in the building when humidity is less than 60%. It takes a lot of energy to do this though so we try not to go too far, only as much as needed to keep it safely below 60%.

    The system also needs to pressurize the building slightly. That means it takes in more air than it exhausts which results in a tiny bit of air blowing out of exterior doors and cracks in the building. This helps keep unconditioned hot, cold, or humid air from entering the building creating drafts. It also keeps bugs out.

    When we open our windows then the building system cannot properly condition the air nor can it pressurize the building. This is the stuff that causes concern for the building maintenance folks. It can actually result in higher energy costs! That humidity and hot or cold temperatures goes back to the central system treating the whole building. The system has to work harder and given enough open windows, can’t keep up.

    Most of our heating and cooling systems on campus are designed to use 100% outside air when it’s cool outside. This saves energy and provides the ‘fresh air’ we all want. When it comes through the system then it’s monitored to keep the humidity low, it’s filtered to keep pollen and bugs out and contributes a great deal to energy conservation efforts.

    So keep those windows closed and help the heating and cooling system keep the building safe, comfortable and efficient.

Friday, March 30, 2012

UNC awarded ESPC for more energy saving potential!

Congratulations to UNC for receiving a U.S. Department of Energy ESPC (Energy Savings Performance Contract) from the Federal Energy Management Program! The DOE says, "Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) allow Federal agencies to accomplish energy savings projects without up-front capital costs and without special Congressional appropriations."

Trane Comfort Solutions from Morrisville, NC will audit a set of UNC buildings, note where energy (and money) can be saved, and make the recommended changes. This will help UNC save up to $5 million annually and a whole lot of energy!

"An ESPC is a partnership between a Federal agency and an energy service company (ESCO). The ESCO conducts a comprehensive energy audit for the Federal facility and identifies improvements to save energy. In consultation with the Federal agency, the ESCO designs and constructs a project that meets the agency's needs and arranges the necessary funding. The ESCO guarantees that the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the contract ends, all additional cost savings accrue to the agency. Contract terms up to 25 years are allowed."

UNC is really doing its part to save energy and money! Are you in on the fight against wasteful energy use and climate change? Visit to assess your home or apartment today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

$11.4 million mark has been surpassed!

Energy savings for the month of December as a result of the Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) program were a whopping $562,897, bringing our total savings since the ECM program was started to $11,403,191!

Congratulations to the ECM program for this amazing energy efficiency success, and to all of you for your tax dollars being spent more wisely!

The ECM program is ongoing and will continue to save UNC and North Carolina money by putting building lights and thermostats on timers, among other efficiency measures. These simple and often unnoticeable measures have resulted in a reduction of energy use of 24.5% to date, an incredible achievement.

Need Help or Have Suggestions? For temporary modifications to building schedules, the building manager should call the Energy Management Control Systems team at 962-0400 or email

As always, if you have questions, know of problems, such as windows that won’t close, lights left on, broken thermostats, etc., or if you have ideas that could help improve campus energy efficiency, please contact us at