UVM Awarded for Energy Savings Efforts

The University of Vermont’s Physical Plant was recognized with a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention for their Energy Efficiency Programs. “This is quite an honor for UVM and its energy conservation efforts. I am very proud to be part of this team,” said Richard Wolbach, energy management engineer for the Physical Plant. “The requirements for the award include: economic efficiency, ability of the program or activity to serve as a model for other efforts, level of commitment and leadership in waste reduction and pollution prevention, use of innovative approaches, techniques, and technologies, health and safety benefits, and benefits to the environment,” Wolbach said. The centralized building controls program is one of the completed projects at UVM. According to the Physical Plant Web site, the large campus buildings at UVM are controlled by a centralized control system at the campus heating plant. The temperature and ventilation on the buildings are controlled through time and scheduling programs with specific set points. UVM’s hockey rink is also energy efficient, according to the Physical Plant’s Web site. The ice rink uses a filtration system that removes 95 percent of the impurities in the water used to make the rink ice. Entire ice thickness can be reduced to approximately .5 inches to 1 inch, using less water in ice formation and rink maintenance. Another new program, according to the Physical Plant’s website, is the new IPAC Cooling System installed to uphold a consistent cooling method. The IPAC system also uses less water and electricity than the old system. The IPAC Cooling System recycles the water and is reused to cool the pumps. The Web site also states that other environmental improvements include: new water efficient washing machines, the energy efficient mini-fridges sold at the UVM Bookstore, sleep mode software for computers, a University-wide lighting change to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and new shower heads that limit water expenditure. The Physical Plant, on their Web site, encourages faculty, staff and students to walk, use the Campus Area Transportation System, car pool, ride bicycles and to make use of public transportation. All of these steps will lower fuel consumption around the campus. UVM’s Energy management Office estimated savings for electricity of $1.60 million in 2003, which they attribute to the energy policy that began in 1990, and new energy efficiency projects.