Using less energy through conservation and efficiency upgrades is a vital means of reducing our environmental impacts. In 2011, only 8% of energy consumed in the US came from renewable sources such as solar or wind; the remainder of energy came from fossil fuels—coal, oil, or natural gas. Of the energy supplied to PSU by Portland General Electric, 28% comes from natural gas and 25% from coal. Producing that fossil fuel-based energy, which is used to heat buildings and generate electricity, emits greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change. Additionally, the processes used to extract fossil fuels can cause severe environmental degradation. PSU’s2010 Climate Action Plan sets the target to reduce energy use per square foot to 25% below 2000 levels through demand management practices.
What PSU is doing to lessen our impact:
- 8 LEED buildings across campus include energy efficiency features such as geothermal heat pumps, efficient windows & lighting, solar arrays, and more. For details, see the Green Buildings page.
- District heating and cooling loop connects 15 buildings across campus and offers greater efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. This network of underground pipes to pump steam and chilled water from a central plant to multiple buildings offers localized heating and cooling that requires less fuel, and avoids the need to install these systems (boilers, air conditioners) in each and every building.
- Steam loop efficiency upgrades: Extended cooling to Shattuck Hall, and upgraded the efficiency of steam and chilled water distribution system. These improvements are estimated to save 480,000 KWH annually.
- Energy-efficient lighting test for Park Blocks street lamps being performed by Facilities & Planning. LED, Metal Halide, and Induction lights will be evaluated for their energy savings, cost, output, carbon footprint, and maintenance requirements. See the public displays for details on each option.
- Motion sensor lighting installed in all new buildings wherever applicable, and efficient fixtures & bulbs are prioritized.
- Lights off reminder stickers installed on switches in all campus housing buildings.
- Lighting efficiency and HVAC upgrades performed in numerous existing buildings. For more details, see our Green Buildings page.
- Parking garage lighting being replaced with LED fixtures to reduce energy use and maintenance needs.
- Installation of an interactive “Green Screen” in Smith Memorial Student Union, which displays the building’s historical and current utility consumption data and helps users to visualize utility usage.
Solar photo voltaic (PV) arrays:
Lincoln Hall Solar PV Array installed in 2011. 234 panel array with peak capacity of 54kW, equivalent to about 2.9% of building’s energy demand. Click to see the Lincoln Hall solar dashboard..
“Living Laboratory” project in 2010 on Science Research & Teaching Center’s (SRTC) 3rd floor patio integrates green roof technology with PV at a 4.9 kW peak output. Monitoring of the various functions of green roofs and the output of the solar arrays will test the hypotheses that plants grow better with partial shade and solar panels perform better with a cooler under layer. Click to see the SRTC solar dashboard.
PV Test Facility installed in 2008 at Cramer Hall includes five different types of solar arrays representing different technology and inverters with a 5 kW peak output. Annually, this could generate about 5,000 kWh, which is estimated to save $330 in annual utility costs. See project page.
Digital meters being installed on campus utilities: heat (steam), electricity, water, natural gas, and air conditioning (chilled water) allow for more accurate tracking of utility usage.
Energy efficient vending machines.
Power management settings enabled that put network computers and monitors to sleep after a certain period of inactivity.
Watt-Stopper motion sensor surge protectors reduce load from peripheral desk devices when not in use.
- Night and weekend class locations consolidated from 21 buildings to 5, reducing the energy used to heat and cool underutilized spaces.