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 Tuesday, October 13, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Buff Energy Stars exemplify campuswide sustainability
by Elizabeth Lock, University Communications

The annual Buff Energy Star Awards ceremony on Oct. 15 will recognize CU-Boulder building proctors who have implemented energy savings in their buildings. On the same day, in a larger initiative for campuswide sustainability, CU’s Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality will be filed with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

This year's recipients of the Buff Energy Star Awards include Javier Portillo, building proctor of the Wardenburg Health Center, and Alan Nelson, building proctor of the Grounds and Service Center, along with Ed von Bleichert, the campus environmental operations manager who teamed with Nelson. Certificates and one-time cash bonuses of $1,000 will be awarded during a private ceremony at the Office of the Chancellor.

During the 2008-09 fiscal year, Wardenburg Health Center and the Grounds and Service Center combined conserved nearly 60,240 kilowatt hours of energy, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 120,480 pounds, and saved the university $6,330 according to Moe Tabrizi, campus conservation officer.

“The BES program has created an opportunity and reward for building mangers to be part of the energy conservation strategy while suggesting cost effective solutions and providing learning opportunities for students in campus buildings,” said Tabrizi.

Energy reductions in Wardenburg Health Center were achieved by replacing T12 fluorescent light bulbs with the more efficient T8 model, according to Portillo. Sensors also were installed on light fixtures and faucets so that lighting and water systems are automatically suspended when they are not in use. The building's heating and cooling systems also were audited and adjusted to operate more efficiently.

Heating and cooling systems in the Grounds and Service Center also were serviced for improved performance. Lighting throughout the building was recalibrated to reduce unnecessary coverage. The building was outfitted with weather striping and solar film on the windows. A campaign also was initiated encouraging occupants to power down computer monitors when not is use. "Since we work with landscape and environmental issues for campus, participation in this program seemed like a natural fit," said Nelson.

The Buff Energy Star Awards program began in 2004 to reduce CU’s environmental footprint and its campus energy bill that exceeds $20 million per year. Building proctors must show a 5 percent energy reduction over the prior year, complete an energy audit, take action based on the audit, post energy and water conservation posters and other educational materials throughout their building, and take an active role in communicating and encouraging resource conservation.

The 2009-10 Buff Energy Star cycle runs from July 2009 to June 2010. To learn more about energy conservation on the CU campus and to nominate a building for Buff Energy Star status visit the website. All nominations should be forwarded to Tabrizi through campus mail at UCB 453 or by email. To report campus energy waste, call the energy conservation hotline at 303-735-6202 or email.

Also on Oct. 15, CU will publish the final draft of the Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The plan is a campuswide strategy with both short-term and long-term goals for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 40 years.

Work on the plan has been underway since CU signed the American College and University President's Climate Commitment in February 2007. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's "Greening of State Government" executive order issued in April 2007 complements CU's climate action planning, and the climate action plan exceeds the governor's charge in a number of areas including the "Sustainability Action Teams" formed in June by Frank Bruno, vice chancellor for administration at CU-Boulder.

A draft of the plan has been under public review since September with online access and public meeting opportunities. The plan outlines cost savings projects and programs that will reduce the university’s environmental footprint by altering on-campus operations such as energy use and transportation.

A draft of CU’s Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality has been posted on the Climate, Energy & Sustainability website and will be updated with a final version.

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