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Thursday, February 19, 2009

EE Pilot Program Underway

In February, the Office of Sustainability, along with Green Team captains in Tigert Hall, launched the energy efficiency (EE) pilot program. The campaign aims to reduce unnecessary electricity consumption through simple behavioral changes—without sacrificing productivity.

This effort is important for several reasons: cost, carbon neutrality, and leadership. In 2008, UF spent $40 million on electricity. Increased electrical costs of approximately 28.3 percent in January 2009 further emphasize the need to reduce demand. Reducing electrical consumption is also a critical component in UF’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. Finally, Tigert Hall is the symbolic home of UF’s leadership. Energy efficiency is a top priority for UF, so it stands to reason that behavior change should start there.

Approximately 40% of the electrical demand in Tigert is for personal office use. As a result, IT staff have switched computers to energy-saving settings and participants are being asked to disable their screen-savers. Participants are also encouraged to use power strips that blocks power to peripheral devices (e.g., printers and chargers) when not in use. Finally, a “Last to Leave” policy is being implemented so that common office equipment and lighting will be turned off at the end of every work day.

An “electricity dashboard” allows participants to monitor their progress and includes the current cost of electricity and the carbon generated per hour. The dashboard is mounted in the hallway outside of Room 202 in Tigert Hall and can be viewed online here. Educational materials for the campaign are available on the Green Team Google Group website.

The pilot will run through early April. If it’s successful, the campaign will be rolled out to other buildings and Green Teams across campus.