The Facilities Department is commited to helping the university reach its goal of improving energy efficiency where and whenever possible in campus buildings and has several programs in place to that end.

The following ongoing initiatives are year-round efforts:

  • Energy efficiency
    • The university strives to incorporate energy efficient products into new building construction as well as in the renovation of older buildings on campus. Using products that meet Energy Star® or EPA® standards significantly reduces water and electrical consumption while maintaining or even improving performance.
  • Demand Response
    • Demand Response is a program that encourages the product users to reduce their energy usage. These actions are usually short-term in nature, such as turning the lights off when leaving a room or reducing HVAC levels outside of work hours when offices/schools are unlikely to be occupied.
  • Winter shutdown
    • During the winter break and other holidays, the university conserves energy by shutting down appliances, machinery, and other systems that are not in use. Doing so results in considerable savings in utility bills, prolonged lives of the systems/products being turned off, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, the following programs, which are outlined in the Five Year Energy Action Plan, are currently underway:

  • Conversion of the North Chiller Plant to Variable Primary Flow
    • Converting the chilled water piping system to variable primary flow will reduce the loading on the pumps by maintaining the minimum required pressure in the system. The loading will vary with the demand, which will consequently save energy and lower utility costs.
  • Chilled Water Metering
    • Currently, chilled water metering is being incorporated into new construction. However, this program aims to install metering for older buildings on campus to provide real-time information on consumption, which can be used to improve the management of water distribution. There will be a total of 32 chilled water meters installed for all of the buildings connected to the North Chiller Plant.
  • Steam Metering
    • Similarly to chilled water meters, steam meters are included in any new construction on campus. There are efforts to also install meters in older buildings. The plan calls for 30 steam meters to be installed annually for buildings connected to the Central Steam Plant.
  • Energy Management and FDD Tool
    • To solve the issues of energy consumption, it is essential to have a utility monitoring system to show trends in energy and water consumption. This data can be used to optimize energy distribution and reduce waste. Successful energy management consists of locating areas of large energy consumption and finding solutions to reduce the energy usage.
  • Energy Audits
    • More than 50 buildings on campus are known to consume considerably larger amounts of energy than all the others. Energy audits allow us to find where energy is being wasted so we can determine what improvements need to be made to reduce energy usage and utility costs. Each year, energy audits will be performed on different buildings across campus and they will be followed up with upgrades to system performance.
  • Energy Retrofit Projects
    • Several buildings on campus reveal higher energy consumption than others. These buildings will undergo various retrofits in order to reduce their energy usage. Several energy/water retrofit projects that will be implemented include:
      • Replacement of standard appliances with Energy Star® products
      • Computer power and plug load management
      • Lighting technology and controls upgrades
      • Low flow water fixture installation, etc.
  • Existing Building Commissioning
    • The purpose of commissioning existing buildings is to explore ways in which the building system and equipment can be updated to improve the performance of the building. Older buildings may have developed problems throughout their lives that cause the building systems to become inefficient. Therefore, commissioning is essential to fix these problem areas.

For more information on any of these projects, contact the Office of Energy Management at 540-231-6348.

Contact

Mailing address
Facilities Department (0529)
Sterrett Facilities Complex
Virginia Tech
230 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone
540-231-4300