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Energy savings to reduce carbon footprint between semesters


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 20, 2012 – Virginia Tech campus buildings will operate at lower occupancy levels from the end of the fall 2012 semester until the beginning of the spring 2013 semester. 

According to campus energy manager Fred Selby, providing heat for one office often requires the whole floor or in some cases the whole building to be heated. Similarly, a significant electrical load for building lighting, water heaters, copiers, refrigerators, and computers exists when buildings remain open. 

To address these expenditures and provide significant energy savings, a modified winter break air handler unit (AHU) operating schedule will be implemented. This schedule is designed for air handlers currently on a time-of-day operation schedule (with the exception of the athletics facilities) and will begin on Saturday, Dec. 22, with normal operations resuming on Tuesday, Jan. 22. 

This schedule will allow heating and electrical loads in unoccupied academic (non-critical research), administration, and support buildings to be safely reduced. Virginia Tech Facilities Operations will manage this process and monitor the temperatures continuously throughout the break.

When Virginia Tech adopted its Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan in 2009, the university committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 emission level by 2050. Reducing consumption of purchased electricity and heating steam generated from coal over the 31-day period can reduce carbon equivalent emissions by several thousand tons. 

"Closing campus and reducing heating and electrical loading in campus buildings represents a relatively low-cost and easy way to minimize both our energy costs and our carbon footprint, while providing Virginia Tech faculty and staff more time to spend with their families over the holiday season," said Selby. 

  • Faculty and staff are asked to turn off all lights, power down computers, unplug all non-critical electronic devices and appliances, and make sure all windows are securely closed before they leave on winter break.

For a detailed schedule and list of specific impacted buildings, visit Virginia Tech Facilities Operations.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


Virginia Tech climate action and sustainability plan

In the plan, Virginia Tech affirms its commitment to reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below its 1990 emission level by 2050.

Learn More.

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