Green Initiatives

Energy Planning for the Future

The Energy Advisory Group is charged with creating an energy blueprint for the main campus to guide us over the next twenty to twenty-five years. The EAG is recommending a phased and disciplined approach to achieving goals and objectives that could result in savings of $15 to $40 million and reduce the carbon footprint by 25 to 50 percent by 2035.

For more information, read about Michigan Tech’s Energy Advisory Group.

For information on recycling, read this document about what is acceptable.

Energy Myths: Test Your Knowledge

01

Turning lights off and on takes more power than it saves by keeping them on.

False. It’s true that there is a very brief spike when any electrical equipment is started, but it’s so short-lived, that the time off far outweighs it by many orders of magnitude.

02

Keeping the lights on rather than turning them off will make the bulbs last longer and so it will be cheaper in the long run.

False. Look at it this way. Let’s say we are talking about a typical office that has the lights on 2,000 hours per year. Our lamps should last 36,000 hours if we keep them on 24/7. Since there are 8,760 hours in a year, they will last 4.1 years if we keep them on all the time. The lamps and ballasts that Michigan Tech use do not depreciate much if they are cycled on and off. Let’s say we only keep them on for 2 hours per cycle and they get shut off in the office four times per day. Let’s say we still use them 2,000 hours per year. Cycling will depreciate the life curve so that average failure now occurs at 28,000 hours. So we take 28,000 divided by 2,000 and we get 14 years of life. That’s more than three times as long as keeping them on 24/7. And we haven’t even talked about the other 6,760 hours when the lamps are using up energy when no one needs it.

03

Shutting off a 1,000 cubic-feet-per-minute fume hood will save a bundle if it is not needed.

True. A fume hood of that size will typically use about $2,500 per year in steam to heat up replacement makeup air if it is left on 24/7. If it has a 3 horsepower electric motor, the electricity would cost $1,400 for a full year. So the total is close to $4,000.

04

Even if I can personally reduce energy use by $100 per year, I can’t make much of a difference.

Yes and No. But what if all of the other 8,000 folks on this campus did the same? Then the result would be $800,000.

05

Reducing overheating by even one degree Fahrenheit in the winter can save a fair amount of energy and money.

True. Each 1 degree in overheating raises the heating bill by about 3 percent. Since the fuel bill for the University is projected to be about $3.2 million, and about 70 percent is used directly for heating, then a one-degree reduction would save about $96,000 per year.