Employee efforts, new technology lead to campus savings during heat wave

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | July 22, 2011

The cooperation of employees and enhanced cooling technology on campus allowed the campus to manage lower levels of energy during the recent heat wave than were needed last year.

Keep it up through Monday

Hansen urged employees to continue their energy use curtailment activities through Monday when the campus will be able to return to normal energy operation.

Employees are encouraged to visit the UNMC LiveGreen website to see other ways they can help reduce energy expenditures after Monday.

That meant the campus was able to save about $250,000 through cost avoidance for the next fiscal year, said Ken Hansen, assistant vice chancellor for business and finance.

OPPD rates

Power rates are based on the previous year's peak usage. Because UNMC's peak usage was down this year, the campus was able to lower the price UNMC will pay for energy in the next fiscal year, Hansen said.

"This was a pretty drastic situation that called for some unusual actions on the part of our employees," Hansen said. "While we may have to do it again later in the summer should we get hit with similar heat spells, employees should be lauded for their efforts this past week.

"Folks went above and beyond during the heat spell and it helped us out dramatically."

An energy star

Aside from employees who hit lights, lowered blinds and bumped up thermostats, the campus also benefited from the use of efficient cooling systems and technologies such as the new campus energy management system, Hansen said.

UNMC's new energy management system -- which was installed about eight weeks ago -- allows campus officials to better monitor and make decisions in regards to the use of chilled water on campus.

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