UNMC LiveGreen -- As it gets hot, let's save a megawatt

Ken Hansen wants to save a megawatt.

A what?

picture disc.
A megawatt.

Sounds like an Abbott and Costello skit doesn't it?

But the assistant vice chancellor for facilities management and planning doesn't laugh when he talks about energy consumption.

Seriously, what is a megawatt?

A megawatt is a unit used to measure the rate of flow of energy and a "megawatt hour" is a unit to measure energy consumption. On average, UNMC consumes about 12,500 megawatt-hours of energy per month and an average of 12 to 29 megawatts of energy each hour depending on the season.

If UNMC can slow down it's consumption of energy for an entire month by just one megawatt, it can save more than $30,000.

Compounded savings

Aside from the direct savings associated with the reduced consumption, a lighter consumption load can help UNMC reduce the rate it pays for energy, which stands to lead to even bigger savings, Hansen said.

"That's money that can be used in other places around campus," Hansen said. "This also will reduce the stress we place on our natural environment."

And I need to know about this because ...?

But why does Hansen want you to know about it?

Because he needs your help.

Hansen wants employees to take some steps to help keep the load off the campus cooling system as we move into the summer months.

What you can do

To help ease the cooling 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.

Proven performers

Employees helped UNMC save $250,000 in cost aversion during a short curtailment effort last summer. A similar effort stretched out over an entire summer could yield even more impressive results, Hansen said.

"From our carbon footprint to our campus budget, this effort could benefit us all positively in a lot of ways," Hansen said. "As employees, we have responded well to such efforts in the past and I'm sure we will this time, as well."


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June 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

how about all the lights in parking lot 50? they are all on during the day in bright sun light especially the base level.