Illustrating energy consumption in a way that’s both easily understood and thought provoking is a challenging task. Searching beyond metrics alone, we found that the powerful World Trade Center Memorial installation, “Tribute in Light,” provided a compelling example as it uses 44 – 7,000 watt xenon spotlights, representing each tower with 308,000 watts of power. Therefore, housing this example in iconic Marsh Plaza felt like a good fit.
In FY14, Boston University consumed 199,099,107 kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to leaving one of the “Tribute in Light” towers shining continuously into space for 74 years. The total energy used by the University in FY14 was 1,764,384 MMBtus including electricity, natural gas, heating oil, and steam.
Since FY 2006, the University has reduced its energy consumption by 4% all while growing the size of our facilities by 14%. This equates to a reduction in campus Energy Use Intensity (EUI) from 150 kBtu/sf in FY 2006 to 126 kBtu/sf this year. The improvements in efficiency have been gained through a complete renovation of the University’s central heating plant, heating and cooling system upgrades and commissioning, lighting projects, and lamp replacement programs.
Energy demand reduction is the most important issue within the University’s sustainability efforts for a host of reasons. Energy efficiency improves air quality and reduces CO2 emissions, which contribute to climate change. Efficiency reduces operating costs and exposure to market volatility, which contributes to the financial strength of the University. In order to most effectively address cost and emissions, we must first focus on energy efficiency. Every day Facilities Management & Planning’s electrical and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning trades staff are installing and maintaining more energy efficient equipment.
Since 2008 the University has completed a major upgrade to the East Campus Central Plant, building automation upgrades, and lighting retrofits. The over 8,000 LED replacements by the Facilities Management & Planning electrical trades group alone equate to over 2.4 million kWh of savings annually, or 1% of our electricity consumption.
In FY 2012, the University began to implement a five-year plan to reduce energy consumption by 10%. This effort shifts the focus from lighting projects to a strategy focused on optimizing existing Building Automation Systems where we anticipate generating 80% of the savings. We have identified our biggest energy consumers on campus – 17 building consumed 60% of campus energy last year – they all have Building Automation Systems.
Through this strategic focus we anticipate reducing the Charles River Campus Energy Use Intensity from 150 kBtu/sf in FY 2006 to 112 by FY 2017.