Meters provide stats on building energy use

Dec 11th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, December 11, 2008

Energy consumption of UNL’s major buildings is being monitored.

Facilities Management and Planning has worked to connect energy meters measuring use of electricity, steam, chilled water, domestic water and natural gas to most UNL buildings. The data is being used to track energy use and guide energy conservation measures. Facilities Management and Planning has also created a Web site that displays the data, and is encouraging faculty and staff to go online to track their individual building’s energy statistics. The Web site is available at

“We’re not using these meters to say that people in any particular building are consuming a lot of energy.” said Ted Weidner, assistant vice chancellor of Facilities Management and Planning. “What we are doing is using this data to see if a building is a high energy user. And, if it is, find the problem and attack it directly with energy conservation options.”

After an energy conservation option is put in place, Weidner said future data will be used to see if the work made an impact.

“We can’t tell if what we are doing is making an impact without some kind of measurement,” said Weidner. “That’s what these meters are, measuring sticks.”

He also hopes faculty and staff will access the data and take ownership in their building’s energy use.

“We want faculty and staff to take pride in their building being a low-energy consumer or in just reducing the amount of energy used from year to year,” said Weidner. “This data will help achieve that goal.”

However, the data should not be used to compare energy use between buildings.

“Each of our buildings are unique,” said Weidner. “We are not interested in competition between buildings. What we are interested in is competition among people in each building, working together to see if they can consume less energy than the year before.”

Work continues on the installation of the meters across campus. Weidner said all electrical meters are in place. Steam meter hookups are nearing completion and chilled water meters should be in place before summer.

“Energy use is something each and every one of us can help control,” said Weidner. “And, these meters gives us the ability to track data and show that, if we work together, we can make improvements in our energy consumption.”

— Story by Troy Fedderson, University Communications

Saving Energy… One Office at a Time

A typical desktop computer costs $15 a year to run. Turning it off when not being used can save $10 to $11 annually.

A pair of fluorescent T8 tube bulbs cost about $22 to run annually. Turning lights off when not in the office can save $15 per two-tube fixture.

An individual space heater costs $20 to $25 annually.

A large copier costs about $50 to run annually. Turning the copier completely off at the end of the work day can save about $30 annually.

Information provided by Facilities Management and Planning. Learn more at

Have you made a change to save energy in your office? Post a comment to this story about what you have done to help UNL conserve energy.

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  1. In the Scarlet offices, we’ve started to turn of non-essential lights during the day. We turn off computers (and lights) when we’re not in the office. We’ve also found that a window makes a great cooler for drinks during this time of year — though leaving carbonated beverages in the window overnight is not recommended.

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