Regents briefed on UNMC's energy progress

by Bill O’Neill, UNMC public relations | October 29, 2012

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents on Friday learned about energy-savings efforts at UNMC that have produced impressive results, such as:
  • Utility costs that were $1.5 million less during the first nine months of 2012, as compared to the same period in 2010;
  • Carbon dioxide emissions that were 20,000 tons less during that same period; and
  • The campus no longer has to build a $30 million utility plant to keep pace with campus growth.

"All of these accomplishments are the result of a lot of hard work and expertise, both on the part of UNMC staff but also the utilities with whom we work," said Ken Hansen, assistant vice chancellor of facilities at UNMC. "I'm confident that we will continue to see energy-use reductions over the next couple of years."

Systemwide effort

Hansen and representatives from each University of Nebraska campus updated the regents Friday about energy usage.

All campuses showed significant progress toward goals that were established in 2010, as part of a universitywide strategic energy initiative.

Keys to UNMC success

Two years ago, UNMC indicated that it would cut energy consumption by 25 percent, per square foot, by 2015. Already, it has reduced its consumption by 20 percent through initiatives, such as:

  • Installation of improved energy systems that were funded by federal stimulus dollars;
  • Major overhauls in the UNMC Central Utility Plant that increased energy efficiency and other efforts by facilities personnel to lessen energy use around campus; and
  • Implementation of the UNMC LiveGreen initiative, which has fostered and promoted energy-efficient behavior change among employees and students on campus.

Benefits of improvement

The energy-savings efforts, Hansen said, will allow:

  • A new cancer center campus to use connections to existing pipes and wires, saving more than $30 million that would have been required for a new utility plant; and
  • Future facilities to operate with minimal increases in operation and maintenance costs.

Such accomplishments are even more impressive, Hansen said, when one considers that they were done in tough economic times and in the face of major heat waves that strained campus energy systems.

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