CAMPUS ENERGY APPETITE GROWS
Despite major, continuing efforts to cut energy use and find the least expensive energy suppliers, campus consumption totals are nearing UCSB’s 1997-98 all-time high of 14.9 megawatts of electrical energy, according to Jim Dewey, campus energy manager.
Fiscal year 2005-06 saw the campus consume 14.3 megawatts of energy. This “dramatic increase,” said Dewey, is “due to the addition of several energy-intensive buildings, such as engineering sciences, life sciences, marine science-research,” and the demand stemming from growth in student housing and increasingly powerful computer servers.
The campus did surpass its 1996-97 electrical bill of around $6.2 million by almost $300,000 this past year. This is due to the fact that the average cost of electricity between FY 1996 to 2001 was 6.4 cents a kilowatt-hour; by 2005 it was over 11 cents per kWh. It looks to be somewhat less in 2006-07, according to Dewey’s annual UCSB Energy Report <http://energy.ucsb.edu
Natural gas costs have had a similar increase, but conservation measures are helping to hold the line on this expense so far.
Dewey estimates that UCSB’s total energy conservation programs have saved more than $36.6 million since FY 1997, “enough to build a new academic building,” he estimates. The Physical Facilities Energy Team has also secured some $2.8 million in outside grants since 2003, and is expecting another $1.6 million in energy grants by 2008.
These efforts not only save money and stretch out building life but also act to reduce campus greenhouse gases.