Energy Conservation Measures Merit National Award
30, 1999 -- Energy conservation is not just good
for the environment. It also is saving the University of Virginia
millions of dollars and shining the national spotlight on the Universitys
engineering education and facilities management programs.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
recently awarded U.Va. its 1999 Green Lights Education Partner of
the Year Award for the Universitys success in global climate
protection through the voluntary installation of energy-efficient
technologies in its buildings.
University of Virginia serves as a remarkable example of environmental
leadership," said Jean Lupinacci, director of the EPAs
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."
the past decade, U.Va.s department of facilities management
has worked to streamline, upgrade, and replace aging ventilation,
heating and cooling technologies, cutting the Universitys
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. These and other measures, both in new construction
and daily maintenance of older buildings, have reduced the rate
of electricity consumption dramatically.
with facilities management officials and employees, engineering
students have contributed their talents to the energy-conservation
164: Engineering Design, a first-semester, first-year course, combines
theory with hands-on experience. Last fall, the students taking
P. Paxton Marshalls section of the course analyzed energy
use in selected buildings around Grounds and designed cost-effective,
energy-saving upgrades. Working in teams with experienced maintenance
personnel, the students examined the buildings lighting, insulation,
windows, heating-ventilation-air-conditioning (HVAC) plant and HVAC
comprehensive, time-intensive 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.
partnership of students and skilled professionals has proved mutually
beneficial, said Cheryl Gomez, U.Va.s director of utilities.
in the business of education and for students in-the-field, hands-on
experience cant be beat," Gomez said. "The EPA liked
our work with students, working with up-and-coming energy engineers,
and that whole buildings were analyzed."
generally gave the class project good reviews. Evaluating the course,
one student commented: "The EPA Energy Star Building Project
...was unexpected, interesting, thought-provoking, time-consuming,
team-building, unique and rewarding all at once."
the past decade, U.Va. 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 pollution were not
dumped into the air, $4.2 million was not spent on generating electricity,
and the institutions efforts have been recognized at the nations
to the EPA, the energy needed to run commercial and industrial buildings
in the United States -- including government and educational facilities
-- produces 19 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and costs
$110 billion a year. Higher levels of carbon dioxide pouring into
the atmosphere from industrialized societies contribute to the greenhouse
effect, which is thought to increase average temperatures on the
Earths surface and potentially to lead to deleterious effects,
such as more frequent droughts and melting glaciers, thereby raising
the water level of the worlds oceans.
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. At the same
time, this approach could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 350
to 500 million metric tons -- equivalent to the emissions that would
be produced by 20 million cars over the next 10 years.
more information or photos of the energy-saving retrofit work now
in progress, call Tony Motto, energy program manager, at (804) 982-5893.
For more information on Engineering 164, call P. Paxton Marshall,
associate professor of electrical engineering , at (804) 924-3164.
For more information about the EPAs Energy Star Building and
Green Lights Partnership programs, call Jean Lupinacci, director
of the EPAs Energy Star Building and Green Lights Partnership
programs at (202) 564-9137.
project reports for Engineering 164: Engineering Design can be viewed
Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858.