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 Annual Energy and Water Report 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

Total energy consumption per gross square foot peaked in 2008-2009 and has trended downward since. Compared to the fiscal year 2002-2003 baseline, fiscal year 2020 energy use intensity (EUI) decreased by 37%.

Water Consumption

In fiscal year 2016, NC State began utilizing reuse water supplied by the City of Raleigh on Centennial Campus. Reuse water, sometimes called reclaimed water or non-potable water, is wastewater treated to a high standard and reused instead of being discharged into a waterway. Reuse water provides a cost-effective and drought resistant supply of water for cooling towers, irrigation and toilet flushing. For total water consumption (potable and reuse), fiscal year 2020 marked a level 48% below the 2001-2002 baseline. Potable water consumption alone has decreased by 55%.

Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights

The following are highlights and accomplishments of energy efficiency strategies and energy-related projects implemented on campus during fiscal year 2020 (download the complete report):


Energy Management identified savings of more than $4.6 million from current and ongoing energy conservation projects during fiscal year 2020. 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. Energy Management collaborated with other Facilities units to compile a Reinvestment Act claim for these savings.

Campus Energy Projects

NC State successfully funded more than $900,000 of campus energy projects that resulted in estimated annual savings of $350,000. Projects range from whole building lighting upgrades to building controls upgrades that 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, HVAC sequence optimizations and occupancy schedule implementations. Partnering with Building Maintenance and Operations technicians, this achieved $2.4 million in savings in fiscal year 2020.

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.

thermal energy storage

Construction on Thermal Energy Storage (TES) at the Centennial Campus Utility Plant completed in fiscal year 2020. TES will store 3.4 million gallons of chilled water and reduces the need to operate electrically driven chillers during the day when electricity prices are high.

Efficiency Improvements

Failing equipment provides the opportunity to install higher efficiency equipment. Rather than replace old equipment with standard efficiency, Energy Systems has pushed for high efficiency replacements. In fiscal year 2020, this included equipment at the Administrative Annex, Toxicology, Broughton, and 512 Brickhaven. These replacements are estimated to save the university $35,000 annually.

Exterior lighting upgrade

The first phase of the Exterior Lighting LED Conversion project was nearly completed during fiscal year 2020. This phase converted 1,200 existing pole-mounted lights to LED, while also installing over 150 new pole-mounted lights in order to enhance nighttime safety. Upon completion, over half of NC State’s pole-mounted exterior lighting will be LED, and the remaining lights will be converted in subsequent phases. Overall the project aims to save over $270,000 a year in electricity costs with the more efficient LED lights.