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University System Develops New Approaches to Energy Use

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Atlanta — January 16, 2008

Drought and $100-a-barrel oil underscore the importance of efforts at the University System of Georgia (USG) to develop a long-term energy management plan that can be adopted at each of the System’s 35 institutions. The recommendations of a special energy task force are contained in a Sustainable Energy Management Plan that was presented today to the USG’s governing body.

The plan, presented to the Board of Regents by task force leader Dr. Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia, proposes a new energy management structure that would be coordinated at the system level. Campuses would be encouraged to establish a committee to develop an energy sustainability and efficiency plan under the leadership of a campus energy manager. The committees would establish benchmarks and recommend system wide standards for energy efficiency in daily operations and new construction.

“The goal of this task force is to provide a formal framework to help the University System and its member institutions pursue efficiency and sustainability projects,” stated Adams. “Careful management of resources is necessary if the University System is to avoid having already limited dollars diverted from our primary mission of teaching, research, and service. These current and future efforts demonstrate our commitment to responsible environmental leadership.”

In 2007, the University System identified critical issues that needed to be addressed system-wide. Adams was selected as team leader for the Energy Management Initiative and charged with identifying the most effective practices in energy management, whether found inside or outside of the University System. With the help of Dr. Tom Adams, a member of the University of Georgia (UGA) faculty of engineering outreach, the team worked with faculty and staff at other system institutions and Board of Regents staff to develop the Sustainable Energy Management Plan.

A number of University System institutions currently have efforts underway to reduce energy consumption. The University of West Georgia has established building temperature standards while electronic energy management systems have been installed at Georgia Perimeter College. Valdosta State University has installed sensors for actuating lights and equipment as well as establishing planning and training programs for the operations and maintenance staff. UGA has reduced energy consumption despite the addition of buildings and increased square footage.

USG institutions also have implemented strategies to reduce water consumption and increase efficiency in their heating and cooling systems. Georgia Tech is using condensate produced by cooling chillers for landscape irrigation. Dalton State College has installed low flow plumbing fixtures that use less water. UGA has met the Governor’s target of a 10 percent reduction in water usage over year-ago levels. Clayton State University has updated heating and cooling equipment in its student center and performing arts venue with more efficient HVAC technology.

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