LiveGreen: Energy curtailment

by Melanie Stewart, LiveGreen | August 07, 2018

Image with file name: Sun0614.jpg

After a few weeks of seasonable to below-average temperatures the heat is returning, which means energy curtailment will too.

That heat and humidity puts extra stress on our systems as these curtailment days are our highest energy-users. Energy curtailment allows us to control our maximum energy demand or "peak." If we can reduce energy where it isn't needed, we ensure that everything that needs energy is getting it.

Lower energy means lower emissions, better air quality, and better health for our community -- our mission. It also saves us money as our utility rates are based on peak use. The maximum of energy we use at any given time determines the rate we pay for the entire next year. I can think of many other things to spend money on, can't you?

Energy curtailment can be confusing though. Spaces may actually be colder than your chosen set-point and/or in the afternoon the temperature may rise above it. It sounds crazy, but both can help to save energy. It's not true at your house but is true here, because of the requirements for patient-care and research spaces. Please see our website for further explanation.

We still need your help! When the outside temperature becomes unbearable, we'll ask you to help ease the energy load by performing simple actions.

Need to see your colleagues have fun demonstrating these actions? Watch this video.

Or you can just read this:

  • Close shades, blinds and curtains whenever possible to reduce solar heat gain;
  • Lower lighting levels where possible, turn off lights in unoccupied areas and when leaving a room;
  • Shut fume hood sashes when not in use;
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator (leave them for those that need them);
  • Turn off and unplug all electrical equipment not in use (computers, coffee makers, printers, chargers, etc.);
  • Open doors manually instead of using the ADA buttons;
  • Use revolving doors whenever possible;
  • Don't charge items on campus, or wait until after 7 p.m. unless absolutely necessary; and
  • Tell other people so they can help too.

These easy steps combine to have a huge impact, on the hot days and for the year ahead. Thank you for helping to improve health, reduce pollution and save money.

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