Facilities Services is concerned about energy. Conserving energy saves the University of Montana a lot of money and reduces reliance on a non-renewable resource. In 2009 Facilities Services completed 20 energy conservation projects in 56 buildings. The projects cost over $5 million and will save at least $360,000 per year. The annual energy saved is approximately 3,500 megaWatt-hours of electricity and 14,000 dekatherms of steam heat.
Facilities Services is also collaborating with ASUM, the Associated Students of the University of Montana on the student-led Smart Buildings Initiative (SBI). One of the goals of SBI is to retrofit campus buildings with intelligent meters capable of reporting data in real time. This will give Facilities Services staff the unprecedented opportunity to identify and correct building energy-use problems immediately, instead of months later and after wasting a lot of energy. This concept makes so much sense the Board of Regents has endorsed it for the entire Montana University System.
Another aspect of SBI is to encourage building occupants to change their behaviors to save energy. Professionals who study building performance recognize the most sophisticated digital controls can be easily defeated. However simple human behaviors, such as turning off lights and turning back thermostats, can quickly result in energy savings and enhance other conservation efforts.
Energy conservation not only saves money, it also reduces our carbon footprint. Projects already implemented by Facilities Services will cut UM’s carbon emissions by 3,100 metric tons a year. Many more such projects and initiatives are needed if we are to meet our carbon neutrality by 2020 commitment.
How will you help?
- Turn things off – lights, computers, printers, monitors, TV’s, etc.
- Turn things down – thermostats, water heaters, use power-saving modes on personal electronics
- Take it home – an attitude of looking for ways to conserve energy is needed all the time, everywhere, not just on campus.
- Always remember: reduce, reuse, and recycle!
- Buy smart – look for the logo below on electronic devices