The Temperate Zone

Using less energy with consistent temperatures

By Mary J. Loftus

illustration of a green house

iStockphoto.com

A new initiative to reduce the use of energy on campus is being put into action this summer: maintaining temperatures in Emory’s offices, classrooms, and common areas at 76 (+/- 2 degrees, with a relative humidity of no more than 60 percent). In the winter, these areas will be kept at 68 degrees. Exceptions will be made for spaces like Emory clinics and hospitals, research labs, libraries, and museum galleries.

The temperature policy is part of Emory’s mission to reduce average campus energy consumption by 25 percent per square foot by 2015, compared to 2005 levels. Currently, Emory spends about $30 million on building energy and utilities.

“We’re the sixth-largest customer of Georgia Power,” says Director of Sustainability Initiatives Ciannat Howett 87C. “Also, electricity is our largest source of carbon emissions.”

Progress has been made: energy used per square foot has fallen 15 percent in the past five years, largely due to behavioral changes. Greater savings is anticipated with the renovation of five key buildings for energy efficiency; eight more are planned for renovation, as well as facilities at Oxford College.

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