Washington University releases energy reduction plan

Washington University in St. Louis has released its plan to reduce energy use on its campuses. The energy reduction plan release is in conjunction with the “Global Energy Future” symposium on campus Oct. 1-5.

The plan — developed by the university’s Energy Reduction Committee — details the university’s past energy-reduction achievements, its aspirations for energy reduction as outlined in the Strategic Plan for Environmentally Sustainable Operations, and specific recommendations on how the university plans to achieve those aspirations.

To view the plan, visit wustl.edu/initiatives/sustain/assets/EnergyCommRpt082310.pdf or visit wustl.edu/sustain and click on “Report from the Energy Reduction Committee.”

The Energy Reduction Committee’s goals include:

  • Achieving the greenhouse gas emissions goal set forth in the Strategic Plan for Environmentally Sustainable Operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 without purchasing carbon offsets.
  • Reducing the amount of resources the university spends on energy each year and instead directing those resources to forwarding the university’s mission of teaching, research and patient care.

According to the report, the Medical and Danforth campuses use approximately $65,000 worth of energy per day, which adds up to almost $24 million annually. Even a 10 percent reduction permits $2.4 million more to be spent on the university’s primary mission.

Among the committee’s recommendations to meet those goals are:

  • Proceeding aggressively with cost-effective energy-efficiency investment projects.
  • Taking into account long-term operating costs when planning for all new university building projects, providing an incentive for energy efficiency.
  • Ensuring that the university is using its existing infrastructure as efficiently and economically as possible through an energy-efficient utilization of space.
  • Moving toward metering the energy use of schools and buildings.
  • Fostering a culture of responsible use of resources among faculty, staff and students.

“This report reflects the hard work, collaboration and creativity of the entire committee,” says Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration and chair of the Energy Reduction Committee. “Almost every recommended initiative is multifaceted and requires careful implementation, design work or financial analysis.

“We now have a roadmap to guide us to a significant reduction in energy use at Washington University,” Webber says. “We anticipate that the emission reductions resulting from the acceleration of our energy projects will not only meet the energy goal of our Strategic Plan for Environmentally Sustainable Operations, but it also will direct resources from energy use to meet our expanding education, research and patient care needs.”

Energy Reduction Committee co-vice chairs were Arthur J. Ackermann, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management, and Walter Davis, assistant vice chancellor and assistant dean for facilities at the School of Medicine. Members included representatives from throughout the university.

The committee was formed in June 2009 and consulted with both internal and external energy-efficiency experts in making its recommendations.

To see a full list of committee members, visit wustl.edu/initiatives/sustain/assets/EnergyCommRpt082310.pdf.

For more information about sustainability initiatives at WUSTL, visit wustl.edu/sustain.