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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Setback Program

Buildings tuned to most efficient energy use

This summer, UF expanded its building setback program, turning down air handlers at unoccupied times to save energy and money. Physical Plant Division has had a program in place for several years to reduce energy consumption by setting back HVAC thermostat settings in select buildings when they are unoccupied. The most obvious benefit is monetary, with the savings calculated to be $10,000 per day.

This program also helps UF reduce our carbon footprint, more than 70% of which is directly related to electricity for buildings. Thus, building setback programs are an important part of the campus plan to be carbon neutral by 2025.

When a building setback takes place, air handling units are adjusted to unoccupied status. For the Thanksgiving and winter holidays this means setting thermostats at 68degrees. During the summer holiday months the thermostat is turned up to between 80 and 82.

We understand that many buildings have essential personnel who work on campus even when the students are gone; file servers require fixed temperatures, and some laboratory and research areas cannot tolerate temperature fluctuations. Before implementing a setback program, buildings are closely studied to determine special circumstances and zoned accordingly.