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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

UF Launches “Chomp Down on Energy”

The Office of Sustainability has just launched a new effort to reduce electricity use throughout campus. "Chomp Down on Energy" includes educational resources about energy consumption and the associated cost savings that can be affected through minor behavioral changes, and encourages students, staff and faculty to be more energy conscious.

The main campus of the University of Florida uses approximately 470,000 megawatts of power annually, and spent roughly $38 million for electricity in 2008, with lights and equipment, such as computers and copiers typically accounting for roughly 30-40% of a building's energy use. Currently, UF is conducting a number of building retrofit projects, including replacing T-12 fluorescent fixtures with T-8 ones, with a projected costs savings of $1.4 million over 10 years.

During this first phase of the campaign, department Green Teams can order light-switch stickers that serve as reminders for individuals to turn off lights to rooms when not in use, and are encouraged to designate of a "Last To Leave: Turn Off" person or group to ensure lighting and qualified office equipment (such as computers, copiers and coffee makers) are powered down at the end of the day. Turning off lights not only cuts down operating costs, but also extends the time between bulb replacements.

The next phases will target IT power management and labs and research areas, aiming to determine what equipment is suitable for end of day shut-down. Anna Prizzia, Director of the Office of Sustainability, notes that energy conservation can yield considerable savings for the university that can then be reallocated in more sensible ways. “In these budget constrained times, we all have to play our part in cutting costs. If we can capture both the structural and behavior opportunities for conservation at UF, there is tremendous opportunity for cost savings in the long term.

For questions about the campaign or to request stickers, contact Ashley Pennington.