Over the past four years, the campus community has worked together to avoid more than $5 million in energy costs through changing their daily habits as part of our Switch your Thinking effort. The winter months offer a significant opportunity for Volunteers to conserve energy and have a positive impact on the campus’s environment—and its wallet.
By altering our daily habits, students, faculty, and staff have prevented the release of 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This reduction in greenhouse gases is equal to the annual emissions from 9,400 passenger cars, the electricity use of 5,900 homes, or the burning of 260 railcars’ worth of coal.
As the holiday season draws closer, Facilities Services requests your continued support for campus energy conservation efforts. With fewer visitors on campus during holidays and other campus closures, we have a tremendous opportunity to realize additional energy and cost savings.
Since UT launched its ‘Switch Your Thinking’ campaign in September 2008, campus electricity use per square foot has decreased by approximately 7 percent. With this improvement, the university has cut more than 68,000 megawatt-hours in electricity usage equaling a cost avoidance of $5.2 million.
The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed UT’s Eco CAR2 team about their three-year challenge to convert a Chevrolet Malibu into a more eco-friendly car. The team is rebuilding it to run off ethanol and electricity. Their designs, though similar to hybrid cars already on the market, will be different in how the systems interact, said Mitchel Routh, a mechanical engineering graduate student set to finish his degree next week.
What provides Wi-Fi connectivity, security, shelter, lighting, seating, and uses net-zero energy? A new Solar Secure station now installed on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus. UT is the first university in the country to house a Solar Secure SunStation. The structure was unveiled on July 12 outside Perkins Hall on the Hill.
About 40 percent of energy in the US is produced by coal. Yet this power leaves behind the largest carbon footprint. A professor in the College of Engineering has received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to help change that. Professor Peter Liaw and colleagues have received a $300,000 Clean Coal Research Award for Improved Structural Materials.
The ‘dog days’ of summer are upon us, which means it is peak energy use time on campus. From June 1 through September 30, UT will pay significantly more for energy used on weekdays between the hours of 2:00 and 8:30 p.m. Faculty and staff should make every effort to limit their energy use during the peak times.
A campus community cleanup is scheduled for Sunday, April 22, when Earth Day is celebrated globally. UT’s Knoxville and agricultural campuses and the Fort Sanders neighborhood will get a spa treatment from the Campus Beautification Committee, Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Team VOLS, Rec Sports, and the Office of Sustainability.
The campus’s Earth Month celebrations continue Friday, April 20, with the Environmental Leadership Awards and other festivities at Circle Park. The community is invited to enjoy the Recycled Art Competition, a cookout hosted by Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK), free bike tune-ups and more. The fun begins at 10:00 a.m.