Reducing the carbon footprint of the University requires addressing how we use energy and how that energy is generated. The initiatives below detail some of the strategies and projects that have been undertaken to reduce the impact of our energy use on the environment.
EPA Partnership. In 2011, the University contracted to purchase 5% of our electricity as wind power, this qualifying to become a partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the use of renewable energy.
Residence Hall Energy Competitions. In fall 2010 and 2011 the University sponsored energy reduction competitions among four of the residence halls for first-year students. These “power struggles” encouraged students to develop frugal energy use habits.
Biodiesel Transportation. The 2011-2012 academic year will see the replacement of one of our current shuttle buses with a new bus that runs on biodiesel.
Solar Trash Compactors. Several “Big Belly” solar trash compactors have replaced traditional trash cans in high traffic areas. These units use solar energy to compress the trash, which means the receptacles can be emptied less frequently.
Solar Panels on Lincoln Theater. A combination of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and in front of Lincoln Theater provides 18% of the building’s electrical needs. The ground mounted array is monitored by the College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture and is used for educational purposes as well.
Energy Cooperation. In 2007, the University installed two 2.5 megawatt generators in partnership with CL&P and ENERnoc Inc. These generators, which run on biodiesel fuel, provide peak demand load reduction for CL&P in supplying 5 megawatts of power, or approximately 75% of the UH electrical needs in times of high demand.
Energy Management. Summer 2012 will feature numerous energy updates on campus focusing on upgrading heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems as well as lighting systems to be more efficient. These improvements will provide more comfortable environmental conditions as well as reduced energy use.
Energy Management. In summer 2008, the siding and windows of the Regents Park residence hall were replaced, leading to a 25 percent reduction in energy use for that building in 2009
Energy Management. A multi-year initiative is underway to install metering technology in all campus buildings to monitor use, evaluate potential reduction and alternative energy installation, and to provide data for anticipated programs/contests to reduce energy and water use.
Energy Management. Bridge Energy Systems has been retained to conduct an existing condition analysis of all utility systems on campus and an alternative energy potential matrix. This plan will be used in conjunction with the newly developed facilities master plan to evaluate the potential of various alternative energy installations including wind, solar, fuel cell, co-generation, and geothermal technologies.
Energy Management. The University is currently completing a pilot project to install lighting controls in two buildings and a parking lot to reduce electrical demand. Future demand reduction projects will come on line following the facilities master plan.