Electricity Usage at VIMS

One of the first steps in becoming greener is to quantify what is driving the most energy intensive processes.  As a start to this, the Green Team has collected information on electricity usage by building by month for the entire VIMS campus.  Average air temperatures (as determined from the York River buoy) were added to the chart for a comparison.  We are hoping that this could provide useful metrics for targeting efficiency efforts and track the success of those efforts.  University administrators are eager for this information not only for environmental reasons, but they are also looking for ways to lower costs across the campus.

While the usage at first appears to be quite high as compared to similar sized office buildings, it is important to keep in mind that many buildings require large loads due to the nature of the laboratory equipment inside.  Mass spectrometers and gas chromatographs and the like are critical instruments in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.  We are working on ways to lessen the impact of all the support structures needed to maintain our world-class research programs.

The two figures below chart the top 10 buildings by electricity usage for since June 2008.  For a complete list of all buildings on campus and their usage, see the supplemental table.

Figure 1. Electricty usage for largest 4 buildings on VIMS campus

Salient points from initial analysis are that summer air conditioning drives a significant load above the baseline.  The Green Team is working with university administrators to target opportunities for both changes in how energy is used and also making some initial investments to improve building efficiency.

Figure 2. Electricity usage for the next 7 largest users on VIMS campus

Interesting to notice in figure 2 what buildings are on the list, including a few buildings that (in the time period shown) were empty and waiting to be torn down.

For more specifics on the buildings and their specific electricity usage, please refer to the supplemental tableMonthly updates to track the usage from beyond March 2009 will be made as soon as the information becomes available.

A proposal to the Committee on Sustainability to use motion-sensor lights has recently been accepted.  There is an ongoing education campaign to turn off lights, close hoods, and turn off screen savers as little ways that everyone can contribute to energy efficiency.

We have recently posted similar information on propane gas and water usage.