Managing University Energy Costs

Strategies and Best Practices for Reducing Energy Utilization Across Campus

Topics: Energy Management and Sustainability, Facilities and Operations, Administration and Finance, Space Utilization, Administrative Dashboards, Data Driven University, Budget Models and Cost Allocations, Budgeting, Capital Planning, Cost Savings, Information Technology

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By reading this study, members will learn:

  • How can we prioritize investments in energy conservation retrofits and building recommissioning?
  • How can we bring expertise and continuity to conservation education?
  • What incentives can we put in place to “make real” the cost and consequences of energy consumption to students, faculty and staff?
  • How can we hardwire desired energy consumption behavior in buildings?
  • What steps should we take today to ensure that the campus’s future energy demands will be met?

Executive Summary

Faculty, students, staff, and state legislatures continue to pressure universities to reinforce their commitment to climate change. However, the prolonged economic downturn makes it difficult for chief business officers to fund the increasing proliferation of sustainability initiatives while mandating 5 to 10 percent budget cuts across the board. Leading practitioners have shifted the conversation around sustainability from green theory to practical energy management solutions, enabling progress toward carbon neutrality goals while capturing millions of dollars in savings opportunities.

The Forum’s full report presents quick-win ideas and high-ROI tactics to manage energy utilization, focusing on the near-term demand-side management opportunity, where solutions are proven and can be funded through operating (not capital) budgets. Based on interviews with over 70 Facilities directors, energy management experts, and engineers, as well as extensive reviews of articles and case studies, the Forum profiles 13 innovative practices that address challenges facing universities.

State of Sustainability