Since FY 03, Elon’s square footage has more than doubled, yet overall the campus’ energy utilization index (BTU per square foot) has decreased by more than 40%.
Energy Efficiency/Conservation Efforts
Elon has been actively working on energy efficiency and conservation projects since the 1970s. Some of the earliest projects involved lighting (more efficient bulbs and motion sensors) and thermostats with limiters. More recent projects include HVAC equipment upgrades, such as the Alamance chiller upgrade in summer 2013, the operational dashboard system and new mechanical system controls. The operational dashboard system greatly improves the ability to monitor, measure and effect utility consumption across campus.The new mechanical system controls were piloted in the Loy Center and have resulted in electrical consumption savings compared to previous consumption. They are being considered for additional neighborhoods.
Elon was a recipient of federal grant money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that helped with the installation of solar thermal panels for heating water in Clohan Hall and 4 residential buildings. Eighty-two solar thermal panels were installed and are expected to prevent 49 tons of carbon emissions each year. Solar thermal systems reduce the need for fossil fuel based energy.
Additional examples of energy conservation measures are: the energy management system’s set back times have been revised, programmable thermostats have been installed, automatic operations of steam heating valves have been added, more efficient ventilation systems have been installed, compact fluorescent bulbs have been installed, T12 bulbs have been replaced with more efficient T8 bulbs, some LED lighting has been installed, more motion sensors have been installed to control lighting loads and older appliances have been replaced as needed with Energy Star qualified units.
Energy Conservation in Action
Energy Conservation in Action is a program aimed to build upon sustainability initiatives on campus, further reduce energy consumption, move towards Elon’s goal of carbon neutrality in 2037, and save on utility expenses. Over 160 buildings are set to ‘unoccupied’ mode outside of normal business hours (typically 6 pm to 6 am), thus reducing energy use during these times. Elon also utilizes the Events2HVAC system, which works with 25Live to automate setting space conditions, allowing a single room in a building to be set to the ‘occupied’ setting when necessary. Over 140 spaces can be controlled by this system.
Engagement & Awareness
The Building Dashboard site allows users to view current and historical energy usage for over 70 campus buildings. This was initiated through an electrical sub-metering project in 2007, which was expanded over several years.
Elon has held a residential energy competition since 2008 to facilitate the development of energy conserving habits. It started as POWERless and transitioned to Phoenix Cup: Energy with additional elements added to increase engagement. As of Fall 2018, this competition is held during Campus Sustainability Week.