Energy curtailment

Energy curtailment allows the university to control its maximum energy demand, or “peak.”

By reducing unnecessary energy use, the university can ensure that essential energy needs are met. Lower energy means lower emissions, better air quality and better health for the community – the Med Center’s mission. It also saves the Med Center money, as utility rates are based on peak use. The maximum of energy used at any given time determines the rate the Med Center pays for the entire next year.

Updating technology has allowed the Med Center to control this process better. Spaces that were previously cold will be affected differently by energy curtailment. They will still be pre-cooled at night. “Pre-cooling” is a literal term — spaces are cooled in the early morning before people arrive. This also is when energy use is lower across campus, and before the sun shines and temperatures increase. Spaces are often cooled below the temperature set on the thermostat, which makes it easier for the system to keep up once the heat and humidity are in full effect.

However, these spaces will not need to be pre-cooled this year to such a cold temp to see the energy savings. This does mean that your space will likely get a little warmer in the afternoon. Not only does this tend to mirror what happens in a residential situation, it is overwhelmingly what you, the building occupants, requested.

Research and patient care areas are not impacted by energy curtailment.

We need your help! When we are in energy curtailment, we’ll ask you to help ease the energy load:

  • Close shades, blinds and curtains whenever possible to reduce solar heat gain. (Did you know this can decrease the temperature by more than 20 degrees?);
  • Lower lighting levels where possible, turn off lights in unoccupied areas and when leaving a room;
  • Turn off and unplug all electrical equipment not in use (computers, coffee makers, printers, chargers, etc.);
  • Shut fume hood sashes when not in use. (This does not decrease safety; fans are always running, but can slow down with a smaller opening, which is why it is quieter);
  • Open doors manually instead of using the ADA buttons;
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator; and
  • Tell others.

These easy steps combine to have a huge impact, on the hot days and for the year ahead.

One Comment on “Energy curtailment”

  1. Cleaning the heat exchange coils of the freezers/refrigerators in the research labs should make them more energy efficient.

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