U.Va. energy conservation
and education efforts garner EPA's top national award
leadman Felix Crawford (left) explains one of the National
Radio Astronomy Observatory building's maintenance systems
to U.Va. Engineering students.
conservation is not just good for the environment. It also is
saving the University millions and shining the national spotlight
on U.Va.'s engineering education and Facilities
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
awarded U.Va. its 1999 Green Lights Education Partner of the Year
Award for the University's success in global climate protection
through the voluntary installation of energy-efficient technologies
in its buildings.
students, as well as its skilled workforce, had a hand in this
success, said Cheryl Gomez, U.Va.'s director of utilities. "We're
in the business of education, and for students, in-the-field,
hands-on experience can't be beat," Gomez said. "The
EPA liked our work with students Š up-and-coming energy engineers,
and that whole buildings were analyzed."
in P. Paxton Marshall's "Engineering Design" class,
a first-semester, first-year course, combine theory with hands-on
experience. Last fall, they analyzed energy use in selected buildings
around Grounds and designed cost-effective, energy-saving upgrades.
Working in teams with experienced U.Va. maintenance personnel,
the students examined the buildings' lighting, insulation, windows,
heating-ventilation-air-conditioning (HVAC) plant and HVAC distribution
projects gave students experience in grappling with problems faced
by working engineers, while their reports served as blueprints
-- now under review by professionals -- for the Facilities Management
Department as it plans University-wide energy audits and systems
upgrades, Marshall said. (Student project reports can be viewed
the past decade, Facilities Management has worked to streamline,
upgrade and replace aging ventilation, heating and cooling technologies,
cutting the University's total energy bill by hundreds of thousands
of dollars each year, according to Tony Motto, U.Va's energy program
manager. In 1998 alone, replacing window air conditioners and
inefficient chiller units with connections to central chiller
plants saved more than $500,000. Improving the insulation of distribution
pipes and replacing old, inefficient boilers with connections
to central heating plants saved another $400,000.
has been in the forefront of a national effort to conserve energy.
The payoff for U.Va. and the environment is clear: 11.5 million
pounds of carbon dioxide were not dumped into the air, $4.2 million
was not spent on generating electricity, and the institution's
efforts have been recognized at the nation's highest levels.
"The University of Virginia serves as a remarkable example
of environmental leadership," said Jean Lupinacci, director
of the EPA's Energy Star Building and Green Lights Partnership
programs. "By reducing its operating costs, the University
has also shown that implementing energy-efficient practices is
a smart management strategy."
similar energy saving measures are put into place nationwide between
now and 2010, the Energy Star Buildings approach could shrink
cumulative energy bills by $130 billion, according to the EPA.