Cal Poly Pomona Flexes its Powers

Cal Poly Pomona Flexes its Powers

With the first big heat wave of the summer hitting most of the western United States during early July, energy conservation is needed as power demand increases.  

On July 5, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a “Flex Alert” causing Facilities Planning & Management to quickly find ways to conserve energy on campus.

“Flex Alert” is an electricity conservation alert system triggered by the ISO to prevent Stage One electrical emergencies. The alerts are triggered when energy reserves are strained due to high-peak demand periods, adverse weather or unexpected technical problems.

When such alerts are issued all businesses and residents are asked to turn off unnecessary lights, postpone using major appliances until after 7 p.m., and set thermostats on air conditioners to 78 degrees or above.  

Although “Flex Alerts” are only issued when the electrical system is under stress and near a Stage One emergency, energy conservation should still be practiced throughout the summer, when high-peak demands are frequent, said Manager of Energy and Utility Services George Lwin.  

“Everyone can participate, and every little bit of an electron conserved will help stabilize the grid and avoid rolling blackouts,” Lwin added.

Although Cal Poly Pomona is exempt from rolling blackouts, Facilities Planning & Management still works to help conserve energy by implementing a demand response program when informed of a “Flex Alert.” The response program allows maintenance staff on campus to voluntarily shut down any large equipment or lighting in areas that arent being utilized.

The ISO issues three stages of emergency based on system conditions and forecasted demand. If the state is near a Stage Two emergency Lwin would be requested to restrict about three to five percent of the total energy used on campus.  

Last year, Cal Poly Pomona was requested nine times to reduce energy in order to help prevent rolling blackouts to the community.

Some ways to conserve energy include:

  • Turn off unnecessary lights in unoccupied spaces.      
  • Reduce light levels in hallways, lobbies, and in non-critical areas.      
  • Reduce artificial lighting in offices by using more daylight and/or using only task lights over work surfaces.      
  • Turn off equipment not in use.      
  • Initiate power saver modes on computer workstations and office equipments, and turn of computer monitors when you're away from your desk.      
  • Keep doors and windows closed in air-conditioned spaces.      
  • Close window blinds and shutters to reduce solar heat gain from direct sun.      
  • Dress in appropriate business attire for hot weather conditions.      
  • Set thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.      
  • Eliminate the use of personal refrigerators.      
  • If possible, shift your workload to use high-energy consuming equipment before 11a.m. and after 7 p.m.     

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