Penn State University Park reduced its electricity consumption by an impressive 31 percent during the annual test of its load reduction capability on June 25.
Between 4 and 5 p.m., Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant worked behind the scenes remotely to power down as many pumps, fans, compressors and lights as possible. University employees and students were encouraged to shut off their lights and office equipment. Central electricity metering during the test hour averaged 22 megawatts (compared to the peak usage of 32MW that day).
The Emergency Demand Response (DR) program demonstrates the University’s capability to reduce its usage during a regional power emergency. Penn State has committed to being able to reduce its load to 28MW if necessary to avoid a blackout. Thursday’s reduction to 22MW was the University’s second-best performance ever, just behind last year’s reduction to 21MW.
While these reductions are a test for emergency conditions, the Office of Physical Plant is constantly looking for ways to improve campus energy efficiency to reduce overall usage. More than half of Penn State’s $2.7 billion capital plan is being directed to retrofitting and renovating infrastructure, and a specific investment of $60 million has been dedicated to energy savings programs over the next five years.
Penn State plans to improve its overall energy utilization by 20 percent over the next 10 years. For more information on the University’s conservation efforts, visit www.sustainability.psu.edu.