2012 Holiday Energy Setbacks Report Shows Reduction in Energy Usage and Cost

Efforts made by Cornell Facilities Services Result in Lower Carbon Emissions and Saved Cost over 2012 Winter Session


By Anjelika Romeo-Hall

Although the university was closed December 22, 2012 to January 2nd, 2013, progress in reducing Cornell’s carbon emissions and cutting energy costs was still being made.  Through the influence of various media outlets including emails from Pawprint and blasts from Sustainable Campus, the campus community heard of the holiday setbacks program and facilities directors agreed to sign on with the initiative. The program has been in effect since 2001 and it entails Cornell facilities services setting back building temperatures and system operating schedules, while still providing the highest level of energy conservation. By taking initiative to lower building temperature set points $100,000 in electricity costs were avoided and 1,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide emissions were saved over the winter session. Numerous Cornell facilities teams participated in the projects, as they were instructed to communicate to shut down non-essential lab equipment, close fume hoods, shut windows and doors, switch off lights and office equipment over all sectors of the campus. From the data displayed in the 2012 Holiday Setbacks Analysis, evidence shows that there was a 20% decrease in electricity energy consumption compared to consumption when the university is in session. Furthermore, progress since the previous year’s setback report in 2011 demonstrated a 1% improvement. Although progress since past efforts is evident, there is room for expansion through numerous other opportunities, hoping to be enacted in 2013. Cornell energy management hopes to create a tool in which buildings that do not need to be included in the setback program can be excluded. Additionally, analyzing steam production has the potential to yield even further reduction in campus resource usage over the winter session. 

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