Campus community will help battle energy crisis with university's new plan

Home|PRESS RELEASES|Campus community will help battle energy crisis with university's new plan

Campus community will help battle energy crisis with university's new plan

California State University, Fresno has launched an aggressive energy plan effective today that mobilizes the university community into an energy conservation team to prevent rolling blackouts and help avoid penalties.

The measures would comply with Pacific Gas & Electric’s curtailment program, which exempts institutions from rotating outages if they reduce their load by 15 percent during every rotating outage period.

Chief among Fresno State’s conservation measures are deactivation of half of the light fixtures on campus during the summer and instituting a new summer hours schedule that opens the campus at 7 a.m. and closes most offices by 3:30 p.m.

The plan, which is already being looked at as a model by other organizations, includes the creation of a team of five students who will visit campus offices to advise employees on ways to save energy.

“If we can successfully reduce our electric demand by five percent of last year’s standard and curtail up to 10 percent of our usage during Stage 3 Power Alerts, we will be exempt from the rotating power outages,“ said Dick Smith, director of utility management at Fresno State. “The university is considered a leader in the community and we hope to do our part by implementing our own conservation measures.”

Smith said copies of Fresno State’s plan have been requested by Fresno Pacific University, Westlands Water, the State Center Community College District, the County of Fresno, Guardian Glass, the Kings River Conservation District and PPG Industries.

He said the specially-trained students hired for the summer will provide one-on-one involvement with employees by touring campus buildings, looking for opportunities to reduce energy consumption, turning off unused lights and encouraging the use of natural daylight where available.

The team members are available for questions and tips on how to reduce energy use and will also be seeking employee’s suggestions about other ways to conserve.

“During Stage 3 Alerts, they will be deployed around the campus to turn off non-essential lighting as we strive to cut our usage by 10 percent,” Smith said.

“The team is a proactive step designed to help office personnel identify ways they can save such as sharing one refrigerator or coffee pot for several offices and turning lights off in unoccupied rooms,” he added

The plan formulated by the university Plant Operations and Energy departments and approved by President John D. Welty was circulated within the campus community for feedback, said Robert Boyd, director of Plant Operations.

The university’s academic deans reviewed the plan and approved its contents, Boyd added.

The plan is intended to reduce the demand on the substation circuit feeding the university by 1.25 megawatts. During the summer the university uses 8.1 megawatts.

Yesterday, PG&E revised the rotating outage blocks for the university, Smith reported. The main campus, serving the academic core of the campus, was moved from Block 14B to Block 10B.

In addition to the summer hours schedule and de-lamping, other energy conservation measures outlined in the plan include:

Installing Vending Miser, a device that automatically reduces power in vending machines. Approximate demand reduction is 75 kW.

Operating reduction of the university’s water system from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Approximate demand reduction is 80 kW.

Turning off electric water heaters, reducing the number of office coffee pots, water coolers, refrigerators and microwaves and limiting outdoor advertising (using banners, not lights). Approximate demand reduction is 25-50 kW.

Consolidating classrooms, offices and meeting facilities to minimize energy use.

The university mail schedule has been reduced from two deliveries a day to one, said Eric Rough, mail services supervisor.

“This reduces our need to use power to charge the electric delivery carts by 50 percent,” said Rough. “By reducing the number of mail deliveries, Mail Service’s electric vehicles will consume less energy during the day and require less charging time each afternoon and evening — normally a time of peak energy usage.”

When a Stage 3 Power Emergency Alert is issued, the university will step up its conservation measures. Additional measures will include:

Activating two emergency engine generators to remove heavy electric load buildings, such as where the mainframe computer exists, from the campus electric service. Public Safety and Plant Operations would also go to generator backup not only so they will lighten the load for the campus but also to keep these essential services running in the event of an outage;

Initiating the 300kW load reduction plan within the campus farm.

When a curtailment call is issued, the university would reduce air conditioning, open windows and close buildings not supported by the campus main air condition system.

Emergency and safety lighting will remain in use at all times.

The university’s new energy plan is available at For details, contact Smith or Boyd at 278-2373.