Wayne State's Facilities Planning and Management department created the Energy Curtailment Committee that looks at ways to reduce energy consumption in Wayne State University buildings by enhancing operational efficiency. The group implements energy conservation measures, gathers information pertaining to best environmental practices, and supports the development of energy-efficiency policies for the university. In spring 2011, the curtailment team launched an energy reduction initiative in several campus buildings that reduces HVAC output during off-peak times. Early analysis yielded favorable results toward savings in both energy use and costs.
Carbon dioxide emissions from utility companies have a significant effect on the world's climate, according to leading scientists. The reduction of energy consumption has come to the forefront of public consciousness leading to increased awareness of exploring ways to reduce energy usage. Energy consumption is directly tied to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the various utilities. This reality has also had a significant influence here at Wayne State. WSU is currently implementing a number of energy conservation measures (ECM) aimed at reducing energy consumption and the overall campus carbon footprint.
Across the various campus facilities, the Energy Curtailment Committee, led by Paul Bernard, Utilities and Energy Management Director, is exploring areas where Energy Conservation Measures can be implemented to help reduce the university's energy consumption. The remainder of the committee is comprised of a team of facilities personnel who meet regularly to address targeted items to reduce energy consumption that will ultimately lead to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and university utility costs. These items include:
- Reviewing HVAC system operations for enhanced efficiencies.
- Exploring and implementing various energy conservation measures.
- A review of water usage for increased efficiency.
- Identifying areas in need of weatherization.
- Implementing measures for increased energy-related mechanical efficiencies.
Wayne State University has 125 buildings that can have a higher usage at certain times throughout the day or at certain periods in the week. Based upon building type and usage, building engineers will shut off or setback certain equipment or lighting on a pre-determined schedule when the facility is not heavily used. The equipment and lighting are returned to normal operation prior to peak building usage times. Several facilities have a Building Automation System that activates a scheduled shut off or setback for designated equipment to further assist WSU in being energy efficient.
An additional project involves reviewing the efficiency of HVAC systems in targeted campus buildings. A total of 13 buildings were included in an efficiency survey designed to identify areas where energy conservation measures will assist in consumption reduction. FP&M building engineers identified compressed air leaks in need of repair as well as pneumatic thermostats that need calibration. Making these repairs and adjustments are producing a measurable reduction in energy consumption that will yield a favorable savings to the university.