Energy, Lighting and Climate Change

young man in workshop
UAF photo by Todd Paris.

Energy related issues can be found in a wide range of sustainability topics. When speaking about sustainable energy, universities focus on monitoring and reducing energy consumptions, changing to more energy efficient lighting, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and employing alternative energy technologies. UAF Facilities Services has already done much to move campus toward energy sustainability. Lighting comprises nearly 30 percent of our power plant's output. As a result, lighting has been a focus of many conversion efforts at UAF spanning more than 20 years.

What is UAF doing?

  • Utilities meters the power generation, electricity and water usage and provides this information in online reports from Facilities Services, accessible to users. This provides the opportunity for future planning and decision-making.
  • The UAF power plant is a "Combined Heat and Power" (CHP) facility that provides electrical power, domestic and firefighting water, and steam for heating buildings.
  • Facilities Services began testing and researching potential uses of LED technologies and converting to LED lighting on campus.
  • A conversion of 99 percent of campus fluorescent lights was made to the more efficient T-8 and T-5 bulbs (an average 30 percent reduction in energy use).
  • Variable frequency drives (VFDs) have been routinely installed in projects for over 20 years, and the majority of our larger motors are operated by VFDs.
  • A small photovoltaic (PV) system was installed as part of the Golden Valley Electric Association’s (GVEA) Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program, and has established a system where anyone (not just those with an account at GVEA) can contribute money to the SNAP program.
  • Motion sensors are being installed across campus to reduce unnecessary lighting.
  • CRT monitors are being replaced with more efficient LCD flat panel monitors.
  • The power plant is operating a small turbine instead of the PRV (pressure reducing valve) system to generate low pressure heating steam in the winter. This amounts to a savings of about $75,000 in purchased electrical power and fuel.
  • The HVAC shop installed mechanical air handling heating coils in Elvey with estimated cost savings of $5,000 dollars in labor and $7,000 in energy savings annually.
  • Energy efficient products have been approved for use in the Design Standards. The products improve facility efficiency.
  • Facilities Services and Residence Life jointly offer a program for students, staff and faculty to support alternative energy power through Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program. A fillable .pdf form allows for contributions, 100 percent of which go directly to SNAP producers.
  • The shuttle station in the Nenana parking lot is powered by solar panels.

Helpful links:

> Live Power Plant Data

> Sustainability Efforts at Facility Services

> Golden Valley Electric Association Energy Program

>Cooperative Extension Service Energy and Housing Publications


How does YOUR dorm measure up? Check out the Energy Dashboard!

UAF energy dashboard
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