Skip to main content

Energy Management has many simultaneous projects occurring at any point in time.

Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative

Since 2012, UNC at Chapel Hill has safely lowered building temperatures and campus energy use during university holidays, particularly winter holiday when the university is closed for about 10 consecutive days.

During the 2018 Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative (December 22 – January 1), building temperature set points will be lowered in unoccupied buildings, which saves chilled water, steam, natural gas and electricity, thereby avoiding utility costs. This program can be  highly successful depending on the weather, saving the University thousands of dollars in energy bills.

Campus research labs, animal facilities and designated facilities that are critical to the University’s mission are excluded from this program, and a process is in place for the campus community to request an exemption from the program (deadline: December 11, 2018 by 5 p.m.).

In addition to the temperature setbacks, Energy Management request the campus community to help save energy by turning off lights and office/lab equipment, unplugging non-essential electronics, closing lab fume hoods, and shutting exterior windows and doors.

Building Optimization Program

From 2009-2018, Energy Management implemented the Energy Conservation Measures Program in order to reduce energy usage across campus. This program was highly successful, saving the University over $58 million in energy bills over its nine year lifespan. Now, Energy Management has chosen to update its approach to energy reduction by instituting the Building Optimization Program.

The purpose of the Building Optimization Program is to ensure that campus buildings are working correctly. These efforts make certain that building occupants are comfortable and energy is saved. Energy reduction strategies associated with the Building Optimization Program include both mechanical changes such as checking actuators and recalibrating sensors as well as encouraging behavioral changes in building occupants by reminding them to turn off lights in unoccupied areas and powering down unused equipment.

The first two buildings in the Building Optimization Program were Bondurant Hall and Davie Hall. The most significant issue with Bondurant Hall was the steep difference between discharge temperatures from air handlers that served the building. These air handlers were given new schedules in order to produce more regular temperatures during occupied hours and to turn off in unoccupied hours to save energy. Additionally, the chilled water valve there operated much more than normal during these significant swings in temperature which decreased its lifespan so changing the air handler schedules reduced its maintenance costs too.

Davie Hall had similar issues to Bondurant with its energy usage and our team implemented strategies including calibrating sensors; checking all damper, chilled water, and heating valve actuators and repairing them as necessary; calibrating electro-pneumatic transducers; programming freezestat interlocks; and implementing air side economizer strategy. Both of these projects led to energy savings of $30,198 since added to the Building Optimization Program.

Energy Conservation Measures Program

energy-efficiencyFacilities Services’ Energy Management Department is leading a campus-wide effort to conserve energy. Like the rest of the nation, UNC is experiencing financial pressures associated with a struggling economy. Therefore, we are motivated to think big and act fast. As such, we’ve identified seven energy conservation measures (ECMs) that require minimal resources and can be implemented immediately:

  1. Implement air handler discharge resets to vary temperature between 58⁰F-70⁰F
  2. Implement Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) occupancy schedules
  3. Eliminate excess airflow
  4. Identify and eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling
  5. Implement temperature standards: Summer: 76⁰F-78⁰F, Winter: 69⁰F-71⁰F
  6. Enable all heat recovery loops and economizers
  7. Enlist campus community to shut off lights and equipment

To date, ECMs have provided substantial relief from annual energy expenditures. We will periodically update ECM savings throughout this site.

We’ve enjoyed success thus far, but we need your help! While most of our ECMs occur ‘behind the scenes’ and have no discernible effect on space temperatures or occupants, some may result in slightly warmer or cooler space temperatures or limited building schedules during low or no occupancy. You can get involved by doing things as simple as turning off lights and electronic equipment when not in use. Your participation and cooperation is greatly appreciated!

Since the beginning of the ECM Program, UNC has saved $58,276,317 on energy bills.

For temporary modifications to building schedules, building managers should call Facilities Services Work Management at 919-962-3456. Pertinent application forms and information are available for download.

Please contact us at if you have any questions or concerns.

Campus Lighting Upgrades

Fiscal Year 2015

In Fiscal Year 2015, we at Energy Management have had an opportunity to look back on the projects that we put into place over the past year. Most of these energy saving projects involved lighting upgrades across campus. These ranged from installing a more energy efficient chandelier in Knapp-Sanders building to converting light fixtures from fluorescent and incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Overall, our lighting projects saved $257,024 this fiscal year and will continue to save the university money and energy into the future.