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What uses the most energy on campus?
The main users of energy on campus are the buildings with their large-scale Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems, lights and computers.

How can I manage the energy I use every day?

  • At home – unplug items not in use, raise your AC temp, and turn off lights when leaving a room. Replace light bulbs with lower wattage units and improve insulation. Also, remember to turn off computers and appliances when not in use.
  • At school – use nonpowered doors, cut down on printer usage by e-mailing documents, avoid elevators and walk instead of drive.
  • No matter where you are – be sure to always unplug anything electronic (if permitted) to stop unknown energy usage, otherwise known as phantom loads.

How is energy measured?
Electrical energy is mainly measured in Kilowatt Hours and Kilowatts.

  • A Kilowatt Hour (kWh) is basically like your car’s odometer when driving, it’s the unit for how much power you have used over one hour. An example would be 10; 100 watt light bulb for 1 hour is 1 kWh.
  • A Kilowatt (kW) is how much power you are using at that moment; it’s more like your car’s speedometer.
  • A BTU or British Thermal Unit is the unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.

What exactly is energy management?
Energy Management at VCU is the department of monitoring, measuring and predicting power usage for both of VCU’s campuses. Forms of energy such as electricity, natural gas, steam and even solar are tabulated for their cost and impact.

What energy sources contribute to VCU?
The 2008 generation mix for Dominion Virginia Power included:

  • Coal (42 percent)
  • Nuclear (40 percent)
  • Natural gas (11 percent)
  • Hydro/other renewables (6 percent)
  • Oil (1 percent) (Dominion Power)

What is being done to keep buildings at an energy efficient temperature?

In the heating season – the heating system’s full capacity is controlled not to heat a space that is above 68°F. If it is 55°F or greater outside, no heat will be applied inside during unoccupied hours. (Source: Construction and Professional Services Manual, 2004)

In the cooling season – HVAC controls are set so that the full cooling capacity of the system is not delivered to a space below 78ᵒF. Spaces not in use are not maintained below 83°F by use of the cooling or ventilation equipment. (Source: Construction and Professional Services Manual, 2004)

Will VCU ever be carbon neutral?
VCU is working toward a carbon neutral campus for 2050, meaning that VCU is reducing energy every year by 2 percent and looking into alternative sources to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent in 2025 and becoming neutral by 2050.

What is VCU doing to reduce energy usage?
The university is constantly looking into reducing its energy usage and increasing its efficiency. One of the ways both campuses are reducing their loads is by conducting energy audits via an external contracting company to identify savings and reduction possibilities. Reductions on the electrical side will be implemented by the installation of large scale solar panels on both the West Broad Street and N parking decks.