Efficient class scheduling saves energy
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: February 10, 2012

Night and weekend classes previously spread across 21 buildings have been consolidated to five buildings to save energy, the result of a new Climate Action Team’s smart scheduling efforts.

Portland State is already seeing payoffs—the Urban Center Building’s electricity consumption was reduced by 18.5 percent this past fall.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning  (HVAC)  systems are some of Portland State’s biggest energy hogs. To conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions, the Buildings and Energy subcommittee of PSU’s Climate Action Plan Implementation Team (CAP-IT) consolidated many night and weekend classes into the most energy-efficient buildings on campus.

CAP-IT is also reassessing the operating hours of PSU’s buildings to determine how well they match the needs and usage of each building. Proposed changes will ensure that buildings are better utilized and that unoccupied spaces aren’t unnecessarily heated or cooled.

Spearheading these efforts with CAP-IT are Utilities Manager Noel Mingo, HVAC Control Tech Steve Hiscoe, and Scheduling Coordinator Adam Lutzow.

According to Mingo, not every space will be subject to scheduling changes. For instance, laboratories or research areas that need to have HVAC systems on all the time, spaces that frequently host events, or rooms that are used as daily workspaces will not be affected. Mingo added that many factors go into how much energy buildings use, including weather, efficiency of equipment, and the behavior of the people who occupy the building.

In the coming months, CAP-IT will investigate how to consolidate classroom assignments into building subsections that use the same heating and cooling supply. By adding this factor to class scheduling criteria, PSU will further reduce energy demands in underused areas, save precious university dollars, and take PSU one step closer to meeting Climate Action Plan goals.

Stay tuned for more updates on CAP-IT’s activity!