Campus Asked to Conserve Energy

With summer temperatures consistently very hot, saving energy becomes even more important as demand grows for electricity statewide.

Last week, Cal Poly Pomona received its first call to reduce energy usage under Southern California Edison's Demand Response program. The weather forecast had called for an especially hot day, and the California Independent System Operator predicted a possible strain on the electrical grid.

Facilities Planning & Management received Edison's call at 11 a.m. on July 8 to reduce energy use between 4 and 6 p.m. George Lwin, manager of energy services, says the department can reduce the university's energy consumption as much as 300 kilowatts an hour.  If everyone participates in reducing their power consumption, Lwin adds, the campus can conserve even more electricity.

Facilities may employ a number of energy savings steps, including:

  • Slowing down supply & return air fans, which cool the larger buildings, by 10 to 20 percent 
  • Raising thermostat temperatures by 2 or 3 degrees 
  • Closing an elevator in buildings that have two or three elevators 
  • Increasing the temperature of walk-in freezers or refrigerators; asking people to use them less frequently 
  • Temporarily shutting down water pumps to the reservoir 

Edison can call for up to six hours of reduced electricity usage a day and a maximum of 70 hours a year. In 2006, the university received the call on nine occasions between July 14 and Sept. 5, and each event averaged three to five hours.

“If everyone in each building does something to save energy, that would be a big help,” Lwin says. “If everybody participates in turning things off, then we will be able to do fewer adjustments to the air conditioning systems.”

The campus community can help by following these power saving tips:

  • Turning off lights in unoccupied areas 
  • Using daylight instead of artificial lighting whenever possible 
  • Engaging the energy savings mode on copy machines 
  • Turning off unused computer workstations or initiating hibernation modes; turning off computer monitors 
  • Raising the temperature by a few degrees, if employees have access to a thermostat 
  • Avoid using high-energy consuming equipment and appliances during peak hours, usually 2 to 6 p.m. 
  • Reducing light levels in hallways, lobbies and non-critical areas 
  • Eliminating purely decorative lighting 
  • Keeping doors and windows closed in all air-conditioned spaces 
  • Eliminating the use of personal fans, refrigerators and coffeemakers