A hot week lies ahead, ramp up energy saving measures

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | June 26, 2012

Remember last week's story on energy use? Well this week presents a prime opportunity to put all that stuff into action.

Temps will be in the high 90s and even 100s and expansion work at the Central Utility Plant will prevent the most efficient use of UNMC's cooling systems. As such, employees are urged to help reduce the energy needed to keep the place cool.

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Intense heat is headed to town this week. Forecasts point to temperatures in the 100s at various points of the week.
What you can do

To ease the load, employees can:

  • Close shades, blinds and curtains whenever possible to reduce solar heat gain;
  • Lower lighting levels where possible and turn off lights in unoccupied areas; and
  • Turn off and unplug all electrical equipment not in use (computers, coffee makers, printers, chargers, etc.), especially in offices.

An interesting point

Did you know the rate UNMC pays for power is based on the amount of energy it consumes during peak periods?

During hot spells, our peak usage could spike drastically -- as could the rate we pay for power -- if efforts aren't made to reduce consumption.

Points two and three

Considering that the money UNMC uses to pay its electric bill comes from the same pool of state funds used for most of our paychecks, it could be reasonably stated we'd all like to see that pool remain as full as possible.

Then there are taxes. The state money in that pool is tax money. That means our efforts to keep our energy consumption down also can lessen the burden on us as tax payers.

Seriously, though, how much does it really help?

It's easy to write off some of these efforts as inconsequential at a place that has the same carbon footprint as Grand Island.

But here's one more thing to consider before we set out to close blinds and hit the lights -- during a one-week curtailment effort last summer, UNMC employee efforts helped keep peak power usage down during an intense heat spell and this led to cost avoidance of $250,000 in energy expenditures.

Furthermore, a survey of employees after the curtailment showed that 87 percent of respondents felt the actions they took during the effort were either not disruptive or only slightly disruptive.

In short, a little bit can go a long way.

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Sidney Mirvish
June 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM

In our building (Eppley Hall of Science) all the corridor lights are left on all the time, except in my corridor where I turn it off always. Leaving those lights on must cost a lot. Even if lights are turned off there are still enough lights in corridors to easily see anything there. Sidney Mirvish