Energy and water are among NC State’s most necessary and costly expenses. For more than a decade, the university’s campus-wide energy management strategies have enabled significant conservation of vital fiscal and environmental resources. The Energy and Water Report for Fiscal Year 2021 provides an update on campus progress toward utility reductions, highlights specific projects and outlines strategies for the next fiscal year that will contribute to further reductions.

Energy Consumption

Campus energy consumption peaked in fiscal year 2009 and has trended downward since. A combination of unusually mild weather and uneven fuel oil purchases contributed to the apparent uptick in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Compared to the fiscal year 2003 baseline, total energy consumption per gross square foot (GSF) has decreased by 37% in fiscal year 2021. 

Water Consumption

In fiscal year 2016, NC State began utilizing non-potable reuse water supplied by the City of Raleigh on Centennial Campus. Reuse water is wastewater treated to a high standard and reused instead of being discharged into a waterway. Reuse water provides a more cost-effective and drought resistant supply of water for cooling towers, irrigation and toilet flushing. For total water consumption (potable and reuse), FY 2021 marked a level 56% below the FY 2002 baseline and potable water consumption decreased by 64%. This can be partially attributed to lower campus occupancy due to Covid-19 operating restrictions. 

Fiscal Year 2021 Highlights

The following are highlights and accomplishments of energy efficiency strategies and energy-related projects implemented on campus during fiscal year 2021 (download the complete report):


Through collaboration among business units within the Facilities Division, Energy Management compiled the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Reinvestment Act claim for more than $6 million in energy savings. The Reinvestment Act of 2010, also known as NC House Bill 1292, allows NC institutions to capture a portion of energy and water savings for reinvestment in further conservation projects. 

Campus Energy Projects

NC State successfully funded more than $964,000 of campus energy projects that resulted in projected annual savings of $245,000. Multiple projects ranging from whole building lighting upgrades to building controls upgrades were completed through cost-sharing programs with campus partners. 


The in-house Commissioning Team’s work continues to improve the efficiency of NC State buildings through mechanical equipment calibrations, sequence adjustments and HVAC schedule implementations. Partnering with Building Maintenance and Operations technicians, the team achieved $2.7 million in savings in fiscal year (FY) 2021. 

Combined Heat and power

The Central Campus Utility Plant is home to NC State’s second Combined Heat and Power project. Waste heat from power production will produce steam for Centennial Campus and excess steam during the warmer months will be used to generate electricity. This project is estimated to save approximately $1.6 million annually. Construction was funded through NC State’s fourth energy performance contract.

Rate change

NC State periodically reviews utility rate schedules from its providers to find opportunities to improve services or reduce costs. Beginning in December 2020, a change from Duke Energy Progress’s Large General Service (LGS) to Time-of-Use (LGS-ToU) rate structure at the Sullivan Substation on Central Campus resulted in a cost savings of over $420,000 in purchased electricity as of July 2021 

Thermal energy storage

Thermal Energy Storage (TES) at the Centennial Campus Utility Plant completed construction in FY 2020. TES stores 3.4 million gallons of chilled water, which is generated during off-peak hours. This helps offset the need to operate electric chillers during peak hours when electricity prices are highest. Since this came online in July 2020, Peak Demand at the Centennial Campus substation has been lower for 10 of the previous 12 months.