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Conservation is the future

Alan Flurry

On campus, as well as elsewhere.

The University of Georgia report on its operational sustainability and energy conservation reveals some notable findings.

Despite adding over 500,000 square feet of conditioned space, including I-STEM Research Building 1, the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall Expansion and the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum, Discovery and Inspiration Garden, overall campus energy consumption increased only by a combined 3% between fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022.

Even with extensive conservation efforts, energy costs for the university (including electricity, natural gas, water and sewer) increased by 37% during that same period. They’re expected to jump an additional 51% in fiscal year 2023.

UGA is implementing several strategies to combat rising costs and increase efficiencies around campus:

  • A six-phase Central Steam Plant modernization will include newer, high-performing steam boilers with heat recovery energy-saving features and modern controls. The Central Steam Plant keeps the university’s critical steam utility operating efficiently, reliably and safely.
  • Chilled water utility centralization will replace old, inefficient chillers with large, high-efficiency ones located in centralized district energy plants. Those energy plants will also undergo a third-party, dynamic optimization to monitor and adjust operations continuously based on real-time conditions.
  • An in-house Facilities Management Division (FMD) commissioning team has been tasked with optimizing building performance across campus.
  • LED lighting and occupancy sensing controls are being retrofitted across campus.
  • Through a partnership with Georgia Power, UGA earns more than 1,600 megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits by hosting the 1-megawatt solar array on South Milledge Avenue. That’s enough to power nearly 80% of UGA’s electric bus fleet.
  • Georgia Power is also assisting UGA with planning and implementing other cost-effective electric transportation strategies.

It has become increasingly important for everyone to consider how they as individuals and as a community of colleagues and citizens can contribute to conservation efforts.

Read more, think about what you can do. 

Image: UGA partnered with Georgia Power to install a 1-megawatt solar array. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)


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