Since 2014, the Office of Campus Sustainability and Facilities Operations have partnered to conserve energy during the summer time through active scheduling of air in campus buildings. Our Energy Master Plan of 2015 confirmed that active building scheduling is one of the most effective low-cost/no-cost strategies to conserve energy. Essentially, our goal is to only cool spaces when they are occupied. When spaces are unoccupied, the air conditioning is not entirely off, but is just cooled to a higher temperature.
Here’s how it works:
(1) The vast majority of the buildings on campus are connected to a centralized, computerized building management system that enables Facilities Operations to control air conditioning schedules from one central location.
(2) The building management system has temperature set points for occupied and unoccupied times. When a building is occupied, the cooling set point temperature is lower than when it is unoccupied. Air conditioning is never entirely shut off, it’s simply set back than the normal occupied temperature.
(3) All campus programs are scheduled in ASTRA, the campus’ space scheduling program. Facilities Operations checks ASTRA schedules to determine when a particular building is in use and programs the space in the BMS system as occupied and in of a higher level of air conditioning. If you are running an event or program that needs cooling during the summer time (or any time of the year for that matter), make sure it’s scheduled in ASTRA. Typically, events are scheduled in ASTRA by Sarah Roberson of Records and Registration. Summer classes may be scheduled by Sarah Roberson or a staff member in your department.
(4) The Office of Campus Sustainability works with Facilities Operations, Records and Registration and individual departments to optimize building schedules. One example of how we optimize building schedules is to locate evening and weekend classes and events in buildings with more efficient air conditioning systems, not in our most energy intensive buildings, such as laboratory buildings.
If you have questions regarding this program, please contact Gary Buckman of Facilities Operations or Lisa Mitten of the Office of Campus Sustainability. If you have suggestions on how cooling and heating systems can be optimized on campus, please reach out to Lisa Mitten of the Office of Campus Sustainability.