Amping down during summer months to be green and save green
Western is taking a strategic approach to reducing energy consumption on campus this summer. The measures come in direct response to a utility repayment fee, known as the Global Adjustment (GA) tax that accounts for roughly $7 million of the university’s $16 million electricity bill. Read more, Announcement from Facilities Management
In order to prevent electricity shortages, a reserve of approximately 1,400 megawatts (MW) is always on stand-by. Since the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) over-estimates Ontario’s need for power as an insurance policy, they must make up for the extra money they are paying electricity generators each day.
The GA tax was created by the IESO to recoup those costs, applying extra fees to large energy users on days inwhich energy is in the greatest demand - or peak days. This equates to more than $8 billion across Ontario. At Western, of the $16 million energy costs, roughly $7 million of that total goes to the university's contribution to the GA.
By dialing back energy use during the peak days, Western can reduce it's demand on the grid and lower it's percentage of consumption compared to other provincial users. By reducing demand, the university not only pays less in energy during that time, but also has a smaller portion of the GA tax. Last year, Western saved nearly a million dollars by taking action during the days IESO indentified as being peak.
Typically, peak days are directly associated with outdoor air temperature. The warmer weather increases the demand for the chilled water needed to condition the air on main campus. This system is by far our greatest consumer of electricity throughout the summer.
This year, Facilities Management’s solution for mitigating the impact of the GA will be much the same. The Division will reduce the air conditioning in as many buildings as possible from 2-6 p.m. beginning mid-June until the end of August. The Division acknowledges that certain areas of research and study require climate standards and every step will be taken with those groups to maintain that service level.
Campus community members are encouraged to engage in the following types of initiatives to contribute to our general sustainability on an ongoing basis.
Some simple considerations:
In the weeks ahead, you will be offered the opportunity to actively participate in Western initiatives that will champion our sustainability efforts, and specifically our drive to be more energy efficient during the warmest months of the year
Download the AMPing Down poster for your office
The campus community can monitor the energy use of any building across campus – using Western’s Real Time Energy Dashboard.
By logging on to the dashboard site, users can view campuswide energy demand at that time, as well as a building-by-building breakdown showcasing energy use across most of the university’s facilities. Clicking on an icon gives users an up-close look at that particular building’s electricity use. The data is sortable in a number of ways, including tracking data for the day, week, month and year as well as various comparison options.
The system is the first step in what developers see as a response to demands from a number of different stakeholders including, most importantly, from the users on campus.
View the Realtime Energy Dashboard
Follow Facilities Management on twitter (@westernfm) for frequent updates on top performing buildings, GA day predictions, and other Global Adjustment related information - hashtag #westernuGA