Efficiency and Conservation

Watzek Library Front In 1989 Lewis & Clark College began a series of studies on its energy use practices. Funding for these studies was provided by the Department of Energy, Portland General Electric, and Lewis & Clark College. These studies looked to assess energy use with the intent of formulating a plan to implement energy conservation measures, yielding a savings in cost of energy that would equal the cost of plan implementation within three years. It was discovered during the study that environmental control of the HVAC systems in many buildings consisted of only a manually and locally operated on/off switch, or in more elaborate systems, the ability to manually and locally adjust the temperature of circulating heating water based upon evidence such as the number of open windows in a building. Some of the measures recommended and implemented were adjustment temperatures and times of operating in HVAC systems (computer controlled energy management systems), provision of occupancy sensors in various rooms, replacement of incandescent lights with fluorescent lights, replacement of fluorescent lights and ballasts, changing of old and defective HVAC motors to new energy efficient motors, installation of timers and volume controls on domestic hot water taps, and placement of small boilers in residence halls for the purpose of heating domestic water (during times when heat is not needed on a full time basis in residence halls, the main heating boiler can be turned off because domestic hot water is available on a “demand” basis from the newly installed water boiler system).

Completion of energy efficiency measures resulted in a PGE Power Smart Energy Efficiency Award from Portland General Electric to Lewis & Clark College on January 26, 1994. This award was accepted by Michael Mooney. In part, the award states, In honor of their dedication and commitment to incorporating energy efficiency into the design and operation of their facilities. Through these efforts more than 2.7 million kilowatt hours have been saved. Annual electricity use and cost reveals successive decreases in electrical energy consumption from 1992/3 to 1994/5.

Further consideration of annual electricity use reveals relative increases in electricity consumption for 1995/6 and 1996/7. These increases may be attributed principally to increases in total building area resulting from new construction. In 1995, the Aubrey Watzek Library addition of 53,000 square feet was completed and occupied. In 1996/7, the Fred. W. Fields Center for the Visual Arts (24,729 square feet) and the James F. Miller Center for the Humanities (38,526 square feet) were completed and occupied. The increase in electricity consumption is approximately 10% annually. The increase in building square feet is approximately 5% annually. A part of the reason for this apparent increased use of energy per square foot in the new buildings as compared with the previously existing buildings is that the new buildings were air conditioned whereas most other buildings are not. The chiller and cooling tower which supply cool air are powered by electricity. Another part of the reason relates to the air conditioning of 30,000 square feet of Templeton Student Center which began in 1995/6. The effect of air conditioning buildings is observable by the increased electrical energy demand during the summer months.

Electricity and Natural Gas consumption exhibit season fluctuations. In both cases, consumption is at a maximum during the winter months and at a minimum during the summer months. There exists a relative decrease in the month of December, which is between Fall and Spring semesters. At this time, regular classes are not in session and most residential students are away from campus.

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The documented trend in use which has developed over the past five years with electricity has led to the recognition that even though there is considerable seasonal fluctuation, the total annual consumption of energy does not deviate significantly from a multi-year average. This has enabled the prediction of expected electrical energy consumption at Lewis & Clark College for an average year. There will exist deviations from predictions for years with unusual temperature fluctuations and for years in which there is a significant change in the total size of College structures.

Energy conservation is a continuous process of monitoring and evaluating building use, construction, and utility delivery systems. This process has yielded successes in the past. With ever-greater diligence, it is expected to deliver additional conservation successes in the future.