Western embarks on its fourth strategic summer conservation campaign – and is seeking support from building occupants. Facilities Management continues to lead the initiative, cutting a portion of the University’s multi-million dollar hydro bill. In previous years, this strategic approach has mitigated roughly $1 million in utility fees and we expect our combined actions can be as successful this year. [READ MORE: WESTERN NEWS]
In order to prevent electricity shortages in the province, a reserve of approximately 1,400 megawatts (MW) is always on stand-by. While the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) over-estimates Ontario’s need for power, they must make up for the added cost they are paying for the surplus electricity each day.
The Global Adjustment (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 - also known as, peak days. This equates to more than $8 billion across Ontario. At Western, of the roughly $17 million energy costs, roughly $7 million of that total goes to the university's contribution to the GA.
The wholesale price of electricity is dynamic − changing hourly based on the availability of supply and changes in demand. Factors that are considered when predicting demand include:
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:
The following downloadable poster can be printed and posted in your common area(s) to help remind colleagues of the conservation campaign; AMPing Down poster
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. In previous years, Western mitigated 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 during IESO peak hours. Agressively targetting peaks that tend to occur later in the day, customers may experience mildly warmer conditions in the late afternoon from 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.
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
With your help, Western will continue to be recognized as a leader in electrical demand management. The following are a few recent accolades of which we are particularly proud:
Follow Facilities Management on twitter (@westernfm) for frequent updates on top performing buildings, GA day predictions, and other Global Adjustment related information - hashtag #westernuGA