Sustainability - Energy
Conservation of energy is one of the most significant aspects of environmentally conscious design. An energy-efficient design reduces the amount of raw materials consumed, annual operating costs, and the amount of carbon dioxide produced. The Energy and Water work group focuses on initiatives related to energy conservation for existing and new buildings, and adopting water conservation practices in landscaping and building operations.
The University recognizes that the first step toward curbing emissions is conserving the energy resources the University currently uses. Examples include: lighting upgrades, transformer and air compressors upgrades, occupancy sensors installation, purchase of "Energy Star" rated equipment, incorporating highly reflective rooftop surfaces into design standards, installation of meters for facilities, etc.
Operational Costs Savings
From an operational perspective, sustainability makes sense and sustainability makes cents. Therefore, energy conservation at UT Arlington has been a priority for decades, not only from an environmental perspective but cost-savings as well. Since 1973, UT Arlington has had an aggressive energy conservation program dedicated to staying ahead of increasing fuel and utility costs and in doing so, keep down the impact on tuition and wages. One recently completed energy conservation project, for example, will save over $2,250,000 annually in utility and operations costs with simple payback of only 8 years and yield a total saving of $18,000,000.
Carbon footprint analysis
In order to better understand current levels of environmental impact and provide benchmarking for goal-setting, UT Arlington completed a Carbon Footprint Analysis in 2008. Led by Jeff Howard, assistant professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs, the analysis took months of research conducted by graduate students and facilities personnel alike. With the completion of the project, UT Arlington became the second of only two Texas universities to complete such an analysis. The results indicated that over 85% of the carbon generated by the University currently comes from energy use in buildings.
Long-term utility contracts
UT Arlington has procured long-term utility contracts in partnership with several other universities that helped contain building-related costs. Additionally, the University has worked with Siemens Building Technologies (Siemens) to perform energy and infrastructure analysis of the campus facilities. The analysis identified 18 opportunities for "Energy Cost Reduction Measures (ECRMs)," which are facility improvements with the most potential for energy and operations savings while improving overall occupant comfort. Some of these ECRMs will include the addition of a new 4,000 ton satellite chilled water plant, transformer upgrades, comprehensive lighting retrofits, occupancy sensors, air handling unit replacement, high efficiency motor upgrades, and HVAC improvements to several buildings on campus.
Additional programs for energy conservation have been made possible through external partnerships. The City of Arlington and TXU, for example, each donated one hundred trees which have been planted throughout the campus. UT Arlington is working with several energy service companies, the State Energy Conservation Office and the APPA Lone Star Program to pursue grants and loans for additional energy conservation. The ECRMs will continue to provide excellent simple paybacks, and several will qualify for the Texas and TXU Rebate Program Guidelines. Through these efforts and others, UT Arlington saves critical resources and operates with environmental, ethical and fiscal responsibility.