UT’s conservation efforts save $1 million

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - The University of Tennessee has saved more than $1 million in energy costs over the last 15 months, thanks to the Knoxville campus community's increased energy conservation efforts.

Electricity usage per square foot on campus is down 9.9 percent in that time, which not only affects energy costs but has a positive effect on the environment, according to UT.

"The savings is a direct result of all of our students, faculty and staff doing their part to help eliminate wasted energy," UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek wrote in a memo to students, faculty and staff.

UT Knoxville launched its "Switch Your Thinking" campaign in September 2008. The campaign, which is part of the campus' "Make Orange Green" program, is designed to reduce campus energy consumption by 10 percent.

Members of the campus community were asked to turn off the lights if a room is empty, shut off computers at the end of the day, use a power strip and unplug it at night.

A campus energy conservation policy went into effect about a year ago. One major component is the establishment of target indoor air temperatures in campus buildings - thermostats are set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the heating seasons and 76 degrees in the cooling season.

UT spokesman Jay Mayfield said that the campus electrical substation is down more than a megawatt in consumption for the month of November.

In addition, despite a 10.8 percent increase in square footage on campus from September 2006 through August 2009, the overall electricity consumption on campus is down 0.1 percent in the same time frame.

"Even with all the new buildings, we're still using less energy now than we were when the program first began," Mayfield said.

More energy upgrades are planned for the flagship campus, including the addition of more automatic light switches and energy efficient light bulbs.


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