UW Today

March 7, 2012

Facilities Services receives $1 million for energy conservation

News and Information

Facilities Services is continuing a long-standing energy conservation partnership with Seattle City Light in an agreement for the utility to fund energy conservation initiatives on campus. The agreement provides retroactive funds for capital and staff resources to implement and maintain several energy conservation measures.

“Its a big deal for us,” said Charles Kennedy, associate vice president for Facilities Services.

Kennedy said that with electrical costs between $13 million and $15 million every year, conserving even 1 percent of energy use represents a significant savings that can be reinvested in utilities or other needs — or offset rising energy costs.

The funds received as a part of this agreement are rebates for projects in the areas of interior and exterior lighting retrofits and upgrades, building control, ventilation system upgrades and building mechanical equipment upgrades. Funds are issued as a rebate after target projects are installed and verified, which allows Facilities Services to reinvest in the next round of conservation initiatives. Ideas and feedback on ways to reduce energy come from employees at all levels, including Facilities Services engineering staff and employees in the shops, as well as from the universitys external energy services  partner, McKinstry.

Beyond direct energy conservation and dollar savings, the City Light investment in energy-efficient equipment and other improvements pays off in other ways.

“It continues to position the university from a reputational perspective,” Kennedy said, “continuing our track record in sustainability, and meeting the (American College & University) Presidents Climate Commitment and carbon reduction goals. It provides incentives for people to want to come here — faculty, researchers and students who are interested in green practices.”

Newer equipment is also designed to last longer and reduces maintenance costs.

“Integration of technology in the workplace allows for improvement of the skill sets of our staff to work with these new technologies, providing interest from their side,” Kennedy said.

The December agreement is the latest in an ongoing collaboration with City Light. The UW is one of the utilitys largest single-use customers. The UW has received approximately $7.4 million from City Light during the past 17 years.