Energy Efficient Operations

Where NC State’s Energy Comes From

Natural gas and electricity are the two main energy sources NC State uses to heat and cool campus buildings while fuel oil is used to a lesser degree. There are also several solar energy installations on campus.

Energy Supply and Demand Management

Energy audits are periodically conducted on boilers, chillers and other equipment.

Energy audits are periodically conducted on boilers, chillers and other equipment.

NC State’s Energy Management uses many strategies and industry best practices to reduce energy demand and costs:

  • Electrical demand-side management, which saves money by targeting specific activities to reduce peak demand when energy supply is constrained and kW cost is high.
  • Energy purchase optimization by NC State’s energy professionals, who review electrical rates, or tariffs, to ensure electricity is supplied at the lowest cost. In some cases, there are innovative arrangements with traditional utility firms, which supply most of NC State’s energy.
  • Peak shaving is a method to reduce energy costs by lowering consumption during the peak time of the day, when electric rates are the highest. NC State has Peak Shaving and Load Shedding Initiative to help reduce peak demand of electrical use on campus. Typically during the months of October to April from 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., peak shaving is conducted when the outside air temperature is the highest during a billing cycle. By decreasing peak demand during these conditions, NC State can save as much as $20,000 to $75,000.

Operational and Maintenance Improvements

Steam traps are regularly maintained to avoid energy loss.

Steam traps are regularly maintained to avoid energy loss.

The vast network of campus utilities requires continual maintenance to ensure operational excellence and maximum energy savings.

  • Steam traps are devices used to remove condensate from live steam, which allows the system to operate more efficiently and distribute necessary steam to campus.  The university has a a Steam Trap Maintenance Program to reduce the trap defect rate and associated energy loss, which increases efficiency while also saving money.
  • NC State uses retro-commissioning (RCX) to identify operational and maintenance improvements in buildings and to ensure that every mechanical system achieves optimal performance and minimizes operational cost.  A campus RCX team evaluates a building’s system and the building as whole to maximize operation through peak performance algorithms.  System operation is improved and reduces energy waste by up to 15 percent.  A properly implemented RCX project will yield a payback of less than 3 years. Several buildings have been included in the RCX process including Administrative Building III,SAS Hall, and Varsity Research Building.
  • Reinvestment legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (House Bill 1292 was ratified and became Session Law 2010-196) allows all University of North Carolina system schools to keep 60 percent of savings resulting from energy conservation measures to be used solely for future energy saving measures.