We know faculty and staff did a great job of turning off and unplugging electronics during the winter break because we can see the energy savings and cost avoidance in our energy data.
While on break, the Energy Team took a tour of campus buildings and noted that most personal office electronics were turned off and unplugged (great job!). We were really impressed when we saw that many shared office electronics (like copiers, computers and water coolers) were TURNED OFF and UNPLUGGED. Way to go!
To highlight a few areas:
• The Energy Team especially thanks Technology Services for shutting down all computer labs on campus.
• Ledford and Martin did a great job with shutting down in classrooms, common spaces and offices. Shared electronics were off and unplugged. Blinds were closed.
• We found room for improvement in a few spaces on campus. Some office blinds were left up, electronics (like printers and laptops) left on, and there was even a window left open.
The following graphs illustrate electricity savings during Winter Break 2011. Both graphs show electricity usage of the campus main meter. Weather does not have an effect on the data used in the graphs, because campus heating comes from natural gas.
The first graph titled “Winter Break 2010 v 2011 Electricity Usage” shows Meredith’s total daily electricity consumption for the last 5 days in Winter Break 2010 (blue bars) versus the last 5 days in Winter Break 2011 (red bars). As you can see, we used less electricity on average in 2011 as compared to 2010. The green bars show daily electricity consumption on typical winter-time days when campus is occupied.
The second graph titled “Winter Break Instantaneous Electricity Load” shows Meredith’s instantaneous electric demand, measured in kilowatts (kW). Please see the narrative following the graph for an explanation of what the graph means. We encourage you to spend time understanding the graph and ask the Energy Team if you have any questions or comments.
On a typical semester day at Meredith College [follow the green line], campus electricity usage increase in the morning as students wake up in their residence halls, classes start in academic buildings, and staff arrives in administrative offices. Hair dryers are used, laptops opened, indoor lights turned on, and breakfast prepared and served. Our campus electric load rises and peaks between 11:00am and noon. In the evening, fewer classrooms are in use, faculty & staff go home, but students are still studying hard into the night and using electronics and lights. Between midnight and 6:00am our campus finally ‘sleeps’, using the least amount of electricity.
We see a different, simpler story during Winter Break 2010 [follow blue line]. At midnight, the campus is humming along with a 900 kW electrical load. But, morning comes and we see a drop in electrical usage. This is because as the sun rises, outdoor lighting turns off. And during winter break, there are no students, faculty or staff on campus to turn on residence hall, office and classroom electronics and lights. So, all day we stay around 790 kW until the sun sets and outdoor lighting comes back on.
Now, let’s compare Winter Break 2010 [blue line] to Winter Break 2011 [red line]. Here, we can see that staff and faculty did a wonderful job unplugging electronics in classrooms and offices. As a campus, we did well reducing our plug load in 2010, but we did even better in 2011. During Winter Break 2011, we dropped our daytime baseload from 790 kW in 2010 to 750 kW in 2011, a savings of 40 kW. This instantaneous energy savings equates to about 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) over the entire Winter Break 2011. Our 15,000 kWh saved during just two weeks would be enough to power a typical home in the US for a year. And, saving 15,000 kWh means we avoided releasing 17,000 lbs of CO2 emissions into our environment. With the average tree removing 2,000 lbs of CO2 over its entire lifetime, it would take about 9 trees a lifetime to remove that much CO2. (http://www.carbonfund.org/site/pages/carbon_calculators/category/Assumptions)
Lastly, we see opportunity for energy savings at Meredith every day of the year. If more faculty and staff turn off and unplug all electronics in their offices and classrooms every evening, we can see the green line move closer to the blue and red lines overnight.
We hope these graphs help you see that turning off and unplugging electrical devices before leaving for winter break has a visible effect on our energy consumption. Furthermore, turning off and unplugging electrical devices EVERY time you leave campus can save even more energy and money EVERY DAY.
Thank you to the campus community for its help in this effort. As always, contact the Energy Team with any questions or concerns you may have.
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