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 2012, Boston University consumed 207,816,168kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to leaving one of the “Tribute in Light” towers shining continuously into space for 77 years, or leaving 395,388 60-watt light bulbs burning for one year. The University also consumed 1,016,443 MMBtus of oil, fossil fuels, and steam for heating and cooling buildings, and for lab processes.
Energy use is the most important issue within the University’s sustainability efforts because it is affected by indefinite market volatility, and can reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions, which contribute to climate change. In order to most effectively address cost and emissions, we must first reduce energy consumption. This section of the website focuses on what those efforts are, how they’re being implemented, and what we as members of the BU community can do to further lessen our environmental footprint. To help better understand some of the work that’s being done on campus, we’ve included a Lighting Glossary of Terms.
Energy and utility needs for Boston University are continually assessed and evaluated by Facilities Management and Planning. The department is also responsible for the development and implementation of conservation and management programs that reduce carbon emissions and operating costs for the University.
The Sustainability Committee’s Energy Conservation Working Group, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, is tasked to identify best practices and opportunities to reduce the University’s energy consumption. By recommending criteria for energy audits and pilot programs, this group develops strategies to increase energy efficiency on campus and to decrease the University’s carbon footprint. That research and data is then used to develop energy conservation strategies, policies, and procedures for recommendation to Facilities Management & Planning and the Sustainability Steering Committee for implementation. Some of the University’s recent energy conservation projects include:
- Mugar Library lighting retrofits
- Computer Energy Settings Recommendations
- Thin Client installation at Mugar Library
- FitRec lighting retrofit, including FitRec, Arena support, and parking garage lighting retrofit
- Fluorescent Lighting Retrofits
- 15 St. Mary’s Street systems optimization*
In addition, a joint effort between Facilities Management & Planning and Professor Michael Gevelber’s Spring ’08 energy class completed an energy audit.
Projects in Development
- Computer systems energy efficiency software: Boston University’s Information Technology group is testing Verdiem, a remote power management software, which allows computers to be powered down remotely when not in use.
- Pilot Building: The Energy Conservation Working Group in collaboration with the Sustainable Buildings and Operations Working Group has developed criteria to determine which building on campus should be used to pilot a new program to reduce energy consumption and improve green building performance across the sustainability spectrum. The pilot project will be chosen on the basis of its potential for improved energy performance, ability to measure and verify performance, and opportunities for sustainability upgrades using LEED Operations and Maintenance protocol and occupant behavioral change.
* An estimated annual energy savings ranging between 10% – 25% was completed at 15 St. Mary’s Street. This includes HVAC Control Optimization Operation, where sequences of two air handling units were tightened to match the building schedule. In addition, heating and cooling set points were set back during unoccupied hours.