Compost Tea

Penn treats the campus soil, grass, and plants with compost tea -- an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers

Conserving Energy

Energy Management at Penn

An effective energy management and conservation strategy remains an integral component of Penn's Climate Action Plan 2.0, as decreasing or eliminating energy consumption is the most direct method of reducing the University’s carbon footprint.

Conservation Initiatives

century bond program

The implementation of the Century Bond program will allow Penn to accelerate building renovation programs. This program includes two key components:  first, $300M worth of funds were raised through bond sales in the spring of 2013, and secondly, a rigorous analysis was conducted of Penn buildings and building systems to determine how best to use the available bond funding. Nine buildings have been identified for HVAC and systems replacements, and 45 buildings are slated for comprehensive lighting upgrades. 

FRES Operations Control Center

OPERATIONS COMMAND CENTER

Penn saves more than $5-million annually in energy costs through state-of the-art central monitoring and control of utilities. From its Operations Command Center, Penn engineers can control campus-wide chilled water and steam utilities, and air-handling systems in buildings across the campus. Through sophisticated temperature/time optimization, temperature setback, and demand management techniques, Penn is able to avoid costly peak utility charges and conserve energy year-round.

Mod VII Chiller Plant

CHILLED WATER LOOP

Campus buildings are fed from a central chilled water loop completed in 2007 after 19 years of planned incremental growth and an investment of over $200 million. Penn's chiller plant freezes water at night when energy costs are low to provide supplemental daytime cooling capacity, reducing Penn's burden on the regional electrical grid and saving money. By the end of 2015, there are plans to expand existing building with 10,000 tons of new steam-driven chillers and associated cooling towers.

Members of the Penn Community may view total electricity usage for campus overall and by building by clicking here. (PennKey required).

TC Chan Center

tc chan center partnership

The T.C. Chan Center for Building and Energy Studies, a faculty-led research group in Penn’s School of Design, has had a long history of providing assistance to the University’s sustainability efforts. The Center completed the initial carbon emissions inventory for Penn in 2005, and since the launch of the 2009 Climate Action Plan has consulted on a variety of energy efficiency projects, including the creation of the Penn Carbon Calculator. In FY14, the Center was commissioned to provide the technical analysis of the building renovation and recommissioning proposals included in this plan, and assisted in the development of the carbon reduction goals. The Center’s findings were documented in Energy, Carbon, and Financial Analysis of Climate Action Plan Scenarios for Buildings.

Bear Creek Wind Farm

green power purchase

Penn continues to be the largest purchaser of Green Power among institutions of higher education, and regularly recognized by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership recognition program. In 2013, the University signed a five year contract to purchase over 200M kWh of wind Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) annually. According to the EPA’s accounting of voluntary REC purchases, this offsets over 50% of the emissions from Penn’s total electrical usage.

 

metering and cost-allocation model

With the launch of the 2009 Climate Action Plan, Penn began a comprehensive steam and chilled water metering initiative on campus. Not only did the initiative aim to put these meters in a majority of campus buildings, but it also simultaneously implemented new visualization and analysis capabilities of the metered energy data. As of FY14, the metering initiative is 98% complete, with 388 meters installed over the past five years.

With completion of the comprehensive metering initiative, Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services began to accumulate sufficient data to initiate plans for direct billing of Schools and Centers based on their actual building-specific energy use, instead of the long-standing method of billing based on an estimated costs. Billing using actual steam meter data will begin in FY16 and chilled water meter data will be used starting in FY17, with meter-based billing being phased in over four years for all metered buildings.

energy ticker

In 2012, the Penn Institute for Urban Research collaborated with FRES, PJM Interconnection, the Philadelphia Navy Yard, PECO, EEB Hub and DOE Grid Star to develop a real-time energy ticker online to promote energy education and conservation. The energy ticker updates every five minutes and provides the current regional and wholesale price of electricity in the PECO zone – encouraging conservation by making users aware of the costliest energy use times.

Aircuity
 

Recommissioning

The goal of Penn’s Recommissioning Program, established in 2010, is to “tune-up” existing building systems back to the level at which they were designed to operate. The program assesses campus building performance and then recommends targeted maintenance and repair.

As a result of the Recommissioning Program, Penn has been able to identify common Energy Saving Opportunities (ESOs) across campus. Many of these ESOs can be applied to all buildings on campus, including items like discharge air temperature reset on air handling units and the adjustment of ventilation rates to current standards. Identifying and addressing recurring ESOs throughout campus has been an important contribution of the Recommissioning Program.