UW-Madison conservation goals heeded and exceeded

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From a news release issued by the UW-Madison:

We Conserve, an environmental stewardship program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pledged in 2006 to reduce campus energy use and environmental footprint by 20 percent by 2010. Program director Faramarz Vakili announced this week that the program exceeded this goal, achieving a 25 percent annual energy reduction relative to 2006 levels.

When the program launched in April 2006, the resolution was met with skepticism, Vakili says. After all, the university had just completed a five-year, $29 million investment to install numerous energy-saving measures to improve the efficiency of lights, motors, and other "low-hanging fruit."

We Conserve tackled larger projects, including updates in heating and cooling systems — by far the single largest energy consumer on campus — and lighting upgrades in buildings and parking ramps. Many of the gains were achieved through major retro-commissioning of older buildings including Engineering Hall, Chamberlin Hall and the Chemistry Building.

The reductions and savings achieved by We Conserve include:

•energy use: 1.2 trillion BTUs annually
•carbon dioxide emissions: 125,000 metric tons annually
•water use: 178,000,000 gallons annually
•diesel fuel: 10,000 gallons annually
•utility costs: $13 million annually