Eighty percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from combusting fossil fuels to generate energy, including electricity. We need to do our part toward reducing energy consumption. Achieving this goal will require accelerating the implementation of energy conservation projects, targeting older and less efficient buildings for deep retrofits, and ensuring all new buildings meet the UW Green Building Standard to minimize water and energy consumption. The expanded use of utility metering and monitoring based commissioning will keep buildings operating optimally.

Water conservation

UW will monitor opportunities to reduce water consumption for new building construction, maintenance and irrigation. In collaboration with academic units, UW Facilities will explore paths to research the feasibility of enhancing water reduction through the use of new technologies or integration into campus planning.

Target actions for 2022

View actions for past fiscal years

Sustainability plan guiding principles

  •  Ensure students achieve sustainability literacy
  •  Choose our research conscientiously
  •  Keep equity and inclusion at the center
  •  Use resources responsibly
  •  Decarbonize

In 2015, comprehensive energy engineering audits of 112 campus buildings identified energy conservation opportunities requiring $25 million of capital investment but avoiding $5 million in energy waste annually. Once the initial $25 million capital investment is made, additional conservation investments can be pursued at $5 million per year, resulting in optimization to the built environment by 2025 operating at least 15% more efficiently than the 2015 baseline audit condition. Once optimized the building stock will be monitored (see Expand Campus Meter Monitor O&M Program below) both to insure persistence of the energy cost avoidance, and to identify additional conservation opportunities.

Steps we will take in FY 2022

  1. Execute 17 minor conservation projects in 32 campus buildings avoiding an estimated $1 million annual utility cost (completing mid FY22). Estimated capital cost will be $3.2M, of which $1.6 million can be recovered in utility rebates.

  2. Begin initial design, permitting and equipment procurement for a UW Tower Energy Improvement Project. This project will demonstrate hot water energy transfer from data center waste heat to heat the office tower. The project will replace end-of life, inefficient electric resistance boilers at the tower, using one or more replacement heat recovery chillers at the data center. The project will involve DDC controls upgrades and potentially thermal storage.

  3. Conduct in-house energy engineering analysis in coordination with the One Capital Plan and other initiatives to identify one or more co-funding opportunities for a major renovation or deep retrofit in FY2023-FY2025, that can support future revolving fund revenues.

Responsible party

UW Facilities Campus Energy, Utilities and Operations

Statuses and linkages

From 2015 to present, the resource conservation program has invested $5 million in 32 projects capturing $2.2 million in utility rebates and avoiding $624,000 in annual utility cost. These past and future building efficiency activities incrementally bring the campus into compliance with Washington State Clean Buildings Code, City of Seattle Benchmarking and Tune-up Ordinances. These Actions also support the overarching initiative to meet State greenhouse gas reduction targets (see Target X).

Future investments must be coordinated and augmented with the One Capital Plan, facility preservation fund and program renewal investment funds. Additionally, resource conservation investments must be coordinated with self-sustaining units’ capital investment programs.

Financing

  • A Green Revolving Fund (GRF) has been conceptually approved by senior leadership. Last year, the detailed design of the fund model was completed and broadly socialized with stakeholders. Assuming the GRF is approved by UW decision makers, the revolving fund will be seeded with sufficient funding to generate future revenue to sustain the $3.2 million in conservation projects going forward. Additional larger projects could be funded via debt.

Metrics

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): energy consumed per year per gross square foot of conditioned space (weather and occupancy normalized). Campus reduction is measured against the baseline of 2020 EUI. Campus target as measured against Washington State Clean Buildings Code Annex Z.7.
  • Net Savings (NS) (present value of lifetime utility cost avoided less the discount rate).
  • Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR) (Net Savings divided by net capital investment).

Expand and fully fund the UW Facilities Meter Monitor Program. Hire a full time program manager, and modernize data collection technology. Formalize, document and begin automation of program business processes, measures and outputs. Track and report key performance indicators no less than quarterly.

Steps we will take in FY 2022

  1. Operationalize the Meter Monitor Program’s “MBCx process“ in seven additional campus buildings. Replace the legacy Campus Energy dashboard. Implement the research and academic data portal tool in OSiSoft to greatly expand access to campus energy data.

  2. Fund $250k in on-going annual program operations & maintenance, and hire a Meter Monitor Program Manager to manage the MBCx process and new building integrations in 14 buildings by end of FY2022.

Responsible party

UW Facilities Campus Energy, Utilities and Operations

Statuses and linkages

The Meter Monitor Program is an extension of a American Recovery and Reinvestment Act legacy Smart Grid program.

In addition to ensuring the persistence of utility costs avoided by the Action Implement Cost Effective Conservation Investments above, this Action is an early contributor to the Portfolio Management Strategy that is a UW Facilities strategic priority for FY2022. This Action will significantly improve UW Facilities operational and maintenance efficiency.

Financing

  • Financing for this Action is currently funded by the electrical budget to meet state and local reporting requirements. Step 2 is not funded and will require a budgetary allocation from central administration.

Metrics

  • Maintenance of net EUI reduction over time.

  • Reduction of annual Operations and Maintenance cost, divided by work order cost of implementing target EUI outcome.


A significant untapped opportunity for conservation existing within the control of campus programs and academic units at the building use management and administration level. Building upon the existing ‘Green Labs” program developed by UW Sustainability, the DSM will engage sustainability champions in our buildings to self organize for the purpose of raising awareness and modifying occupant behaviors that affect building energy consumption.

Steps we will take in FY 2022

  1. Develop, publish and communicate: program overview, goals and guiding principles document; a building champion roles and responsibility guidance document; sign-up seven “pilot” facilities by close of FY22.
  2. Develop program education materials plans and a program building level execution methodology. Develop communications plans with requirements. Launch beta test materials and plans in seven “pilot” facilities.

Responsible party

UW Facilities Campus Energy, Utilities and Operations

Statuses and linkages

Positive proactive communication with building occupants increases goodwill and opens doors to active communication and higher understanding. Empowering building occupants to actively modify wasteful behaviors builds trust and alignment of purpose. A strong engagement program will lead to greater campus support and alignment for future energy transformation decisions.

Financing

Funding requirements will be assessed and developed using experiences from the seven building “pilot” at the end of FY 2022. There is no additional funding needed for FY22.

Metrics

  • EUI reduction per pilot building per month and in the future per year.