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Energy - Energy Conservation

Energy Program - The Office of Physical Plant Energy Program administers the behind-the-scenes mechanical, technical and operational aspects of energy efficiency and conservation in buildings and utilities. The Program consists of energy usage monitoring and benchmarking, performance contracting, energy efficiency and continuous commissioning.

Energy Savings Program (ESP) – For more than 15 years, Penn State has invested in campus-wide energy conservation measures via its Energy Savings Program, which was originally modeled after the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Program. To date, the program has invested over $100 million with $79 million in program funding slated in the current Capital Plan. Penn State awards performance contracts to pre-approved firms for large energy projects at any of the University locations or contributes funds that ensure energy efficiency in projects where energy is not necessarily the primary focus. In either case, the energy funds, including financing, are recovered through the avoided utility costs over a 10-year payback period. Multiple ESP projects have been completed at University Park as well as Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Berks, Brandywine, Erie, Fayette, Great Valley, Harrisburg, and Hazelton campuses. Across all campuses, the Energy Savings Program has contributed to significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in line with Penn State’s GHG Emissions Reduction Goals.

Continuous Commissioning (CCx) - Commissioning occurs shortly after a building’s completion to verify if it is functioning according to its design objectives. Implemented in 1998, the University Park Continuous Commissioning Program (CCx) focuses on the re-commissioning, retro-commissioning, and maintenance of campus buildings. The goals of the program are to reduce energy costs and optimize building performance. CCx are “corrective” projects that typically have a 5-year simple payback. The program currently includes 2 CCx Engineers and (3) 2-person technical service crews. These savings are repurposed toward other energy saving projects. 

Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) - These projects are smaller in scope and are completed in E&G buildings. The average simple payback is less than 5 years. Solutions in the past have included:

  • Improving Steam Traps
  • Installing Low-flow water fixtures
  • Upgrading Chiller/Chilled Water
  • Programming Thermostats
  • Reprogramming/ upgrading control systems
  • Tuning up systems and equipment
  • Switching fuel selection
  • Cleaning and flushing HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) piping
  • Installing room occupancy sensors
  • Winter Break shutdown

Green Design -Penn State has developed and implemented a University policy that guides sustainable elements in the design and construction of University facilities in accordance with USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). All new buildings at Penn State will be, at a minimum, LEED certified. Penn State's LEED Buildings

Energy Conservation Policy - In 2009, Penn State instituted an Energy Conservation Policy (AD64) that established guidelines and practices that will lower the University's energy consumption, reduce expenditures on energy and reduce greenhouse gases. The policy is applicable to all Penn State owned or leased facilities at all campus locations.

Building Automation Systems - Approximately 350 buildings at the University Park campus are controlled via building automation systems (BAS). This functionality maintains customer environmental satisfaction by keeping the buildings climate within specific range and providing lighting based on occupancy schedules as well as monitoring system performance for device failures.

Enterprise Utility Management System - Penn State utilizes an Enterprise Energy Management Suite for tracking of energy commodity purchasing, energy and water consumption, meter data and real time energy data for a select number of buildings. This system allows for accurate tracking of energy consumption and the data is used to inform development of Energy Program projects.

As opportunities arise, miscellaneous projects are initiated to reduce energy consumption. As buildings are connected to University Park's central chilled water system and standalone systems are removed, a significant energy savings is expected. Power management software has been rolled out to campus computers for energy conservation.