In 2012, UofL installed real-time energy-monitoring and display technology in four residence halls. These online Building Dashboards allow residents to get a handle on their energy usage and to get real-time feedback about conservation efforts within the residence halls!
Check out these new online portals, make a personal commitment to reduce, and gain a better understanding of your energy use:
In 2013, UofL competed nationally and locally in the Bluegrass Unplugged competition against UK, WKU, and Berea to reduce electricity use in residence halls during the Campus Conservation Nationals.CCN is the largest nationwide electricity and water reduction
competition on 200 college and university campuses, covering 2500
buildings and 250,000 students!
From March 23 - April 12, 2013, UofL
residents competed to achieve the greatest possible energy reductions in thirteen
residence halls. Results are below. Click on the links to see electricity consumption patterns in each hall:
Prizes were awarded to the UofL residence hall which reduced the most! Residents of Bettie Johnson earned the Grand Prize: a Skate Party at Skate World April 18th 7-10pm! After each week of the competition, residents in the leading hall were be able to pick up free UofL Sustainability reusable shoulder bags, mugs, and water bottles in their lobby!
As the Kentucky school with the greatest average reduction, Western Kentucky University took home the Bluegrass Unpluggedtrophy!
In 2012, 100 colleges & universities across North America engaged over 200,000 residents to save 1.7 gigawatt-hours of electricity! This equates to taking 151 U.S. homes off the grid for a year, $158,000 in savings, and 2.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide averted!
From March 26 - April 15, 2012 UofL residents were able to reduce energy consumption 11.9%, saving 38,415 kWh of electricity! This equates to $2,689 in savings, and 78,789 pounds of carbon dioxide averted!
Final 2012 Rankings by Residence Hall (% reduction in energy use): 1. University Tower Apartments (UTA) (36.4%) 2. Kurz Hall (real-time!) (20.5%) 3. Louisville Hall (real-time!) (12.2%) 4. Community Park (real-time!) (10.3%) 5. The Complex (West, Center & Wellness Halls) (8.0%) 6. Unitas Hall (real-time!) (4.5%) 7. Bettie Johnson Hall (1.2%) 8. Miller Hall (0.7%) 9. Threlkeld Hall (2.1% INCREASE)
As one of the top ten energy reducers in 2012, UofL earned 200 megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) from Sterling Planet!
In 2012, UofL began shutting off lighting in campus vending machines to save energy.
UofL's annual utility bill (electric, gas, water and sewer) is over $19.5 million. We spend nearly $1 million every month of the year on energy ($11.7 million for electricity and gas in 2011). There are tremendous cost savings and environmental benefits to be gained from using energy and water more efficiently on campus.
UofL has made massive investments to retrofit its existing facilities in order to increase the efficiency of our operations, reduce costs, consume less energy and water, and produce less pollution as a result.
This $46.2 million project, involving 88 buildings (6.2 million square feet) on all three UofL campuses will directly save the university $4.4 million every year and reduce our annual carbon dioxide emissions alone by over 46,000 tons (the equivalent of removing 7,690 cars from the road).
With these improvements, UofL expects to reduce its utility bill by about $12,086 per day!
These efforts have already produced documented results. In FY 2011-12, Belknap Campus reduced fuel use 48%, electricity use 27%, and water use 31%. Efficiency-minded campus users helped us exceed our engineers' expectations! They had predicted fuel use
to decline nearly 40% and electricity use to drop at least 20% annually.
Examples of efficiency retrofits include:
Efficient lighting: Installed 117,483 fluorescent lamps, 41,714 ballasts, and 1,729 exterior induction lamps. Reduce lighting energy consumption by 14% for an annual savings of over $915,000.
Occupancy sensors for lighting: Installed 2,011 occupancy sensors to automatically shut off lights in vacant rooms. Reduces lighting energy consumption by 20-40%, saving over $97,000/year.
Low-flow shower head replacements were installed throughout Belknap campus in 2010.
Low-flow faucet aerators: Installed 20,426 pressure independent aerators. Reduces water consumption at sinks by an average of 58% for an annual savings of over $159,000.
Efficient motors: Replaced 259 motors with new models that use an average of 5% less energy for an annual savings of over $35,000.
Energy efficient belts for motors: Replaced 213 standard V-style belts with non-slipping synchronous belts with variable frequency drives. Cuts energy use by an average of 8% for a savings of over $46,000/year.
Low-flow shower heads: 616 standard shower heads were replaced with efficient 2.0 gallon/minute heads. Reduces water use by an average of 11%, saving over $34,000/year.
Insulated steam valve jackets: 1,152 installed. Reduce heat loss at the valve by 90%. Saves over $327,000/year.
History of the Project: In October 2009, UofL and Siemens Building Technologies Inc. began work on a $21.7 million, 13½-year performance contract to increase efficiency on Belknap Campus. In 2010, a second phase performance contract was finalized for the Health Sciences Center, Shelby campus, and a few more Belknap projects, involving another $24.5 million in retrofits.
ecoScorecard can be used to compare the green attributes of products from furniture to flooring and see how each contributes to LEED and other certifications.
All new construction and major renovation projects at UofL are designed and built in accordance with Kentucky's High Performance Building Standards, using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ as a guide or for certification, depending on the scale of the project. LEED standards not only encourage efficiency, but a wide range of practices which reduce the total environmental impact of buildings during construction and occupancy.
One of the next projects is our Student Recreation Center, scheduled to open on Belknap Campus Fall 2013, which is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, as well. It will feature UofL's first geothermal system (see below).
As we transition toward climate neutrality by 2050, UofL has made a bold commitment to renewable energy. Our
immediate goal is to source at least 20% of our power from renewable
energy sources by 2020. UofL is seriously exploring options including solar, biomass, geothermal, and low-impact
hydropower projects. Some of these efforts are tied to
educational and research objectives at UofL. More details are available in UofL's Climate Action Plan.
Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Club members Josh Wilcox, Ezra Clark, Sam Ellis, Alejandro Martinez, Jason Absher and Harry Russell install solar panels for Garden Commons greenhouse.
In 2009, UofL commissioned consultants from Cannon Design to produce a report on the practical and economic feasibility of renewable energy options for UofL, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and landfill gas. Download a copy of the report here.
At the moment, UofL, like most utility customers in Kentucky, still relies largely on fossil fuel-generated power purchased from the grid. We do not currently generate a significant percentage of our electricity on campus, but we are moving in that direction with a commitment to renewable energy that has already manifest itself in a number of pilot projects.
In 2013, UofL students are taking part in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition! In collaboration with students from Ball State University and the University of Kentucky, Team Kentuckiana is building a fully solar-powered, modular home called "The Phoenix House," designed to aid in disaster recovery and provide a model of green living! For more information, contact the team's faculty mentor, Dr. Mark McGinley (502-852-4068). To contribute, contact Jason Diffenderfer at 502-852-1248.
The roof of UofL's LEED Gold certified Center for Predictive Medicine on the Shelby campus houses a 50 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, one of the largest in Kentucky, with 254 panels (see photo above).
When it opens in Fall 2013, the new Student Recreation Center on 4th Street will feature not only a solar hot water system, but 128,000 square feet of space heated and cooled by the University's first geothermal system. The geothermal heat pipe will be a closed-loop vertical well system with a total of 180 wells 400 feet deep. This system will provide ample reserve capacity and is expected to generate about 22% annual energy cost savings compared to a conventional system. It will also be considerably simpler and cheaper to maintain. Read more.
The computer controlled dual-axis tracking solar array on Sackett Hall at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering produces both electricity and hot water for the building. It is the only such tracking array in Kentucky, and is intended for research, development and
education, while supplying a portion of the building's electric and hot
water loads. Because it is able to track the sun precisely throughout the day and across the seasons, it is 30% more efficient than fixed solar panels. Two solar thermal collectors provide nearly 100% of the hot
water in the summer, and ten photovoltaic panels feed
enough electricity into the grid to power the building's
computer laboratory. Check out how much energy the system is capturing right now!
We are investigating renewable energy options to passively heat UofL buildings. At Burhans Hall on our Shelby campus, in collaboration with the Department of Energy and the Kentucky Renewable Energy Consortium, UofL's Renewable Energy Applications Laboratory (REAL) installed an experimental solar heat pipe wall for indoor climate control that may prove to be twice as efficient as other solar systems in places such as Louisville with moderate sun and cold winters. In 2011, the system was moved to a new solar test room constructed at the Speed School of Engineering behind Ernst Hall for further experimentation and monitoring. This is the only such device of its kind in the world and its active solar design is more efficient than most passive systems.
Since 2009, Chemical Engineering faculty and students have been involved in the conversion of waste vegetable oil from UofL Dining services into biodiesel used to fuel our campus shuttle. We began to scale-up this effort in 2011, when UofL Dining began supplying used cooking oil for local conversion into biodiesel. The project began through a partnership with the Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative and now Kelley Green Biofuel of Goshen, KY (5100 Greenhaven Lane), a community-scale, ASTM-certified, National Biodiesel Board registered biodiesel producer with an annual capacity of 75,000 gallons, located just 30 miles from campus. Check out the details of the project here.
Learn more about some of our renewable energy efforts here.
Vegetated roofs are not only beautiful, but they help moderate temperatures to reduce the urban heat island effect and building energy demands for cooling and heating, while reducing storm water runoff, generating oxygen, and providing wildlife habitat in the urban landscape. They can also be designed as green spaces for urban dwellers looking to escape the concrete jungle.
The University of Louisville has begun installing green roofs to help demonstrate their many benefits, with projects at the new College of Business expansion, the Early Learning Center at Family Scholar House, and the new Cardinal Towne affiliated student housing and retail facility.
In July, 2012, UofL officials gathered for a ceremonial planting of the new green roof sprouting on the first building at the new Nucleus Innovation Park-Market Street,
a subsidiary of the UofL Foundation. The eight-story,
200,000-square-foot, LEED building is expected to open in May 2013 and
Bernheim Forest nursery specialists are advising building contractors
how to design and maintain the roof, which will feature Kentucky native
In June 2012, UofL dedicated a new wing at Harry Frazier Hall, the College of Business building. The wing houses the equine and entrepreneurship programs. The roof of the building is a vegetated green roof called the M. Krista Loyd Sky Garden, named for the daughter of Raymond and Eleanor Lloyd of Louisville. The garden will reduce storm water surges and is expected to trim heating and cooling costs by 25% in the two-story addition it covers.
Besides the roof, other green features of the new wing include: - 97% of all occupied spaces have natural day lighting; 94% have a direct line of sight to the outside. - Radiant heat panels along the window wall keep the rooms evenly heated. - Low-E glass reduces heat buildup in the summer and reflects heat back in the winter. - Low VOC-emitting paint, sealant, adhesives and flooring reduce indoor air contaminants.