Energy Affairs Council

In the spring of 2001, TCI facilitated a significant new institutional focus on energy affairs at the university. Chaired by Dick Goulet from the Facilities Department and including members from throughout the Tufts community, a high-level, university-wide Energy Affairs Council was formed and began to meet in June 2001 to support and expand upon the work of the Facilities Department by looking at university policies, expectations, and participation in energy efficiency efforts. This group focused on energy policy and long-term strategy. Their remit was to create a plan with specific action items that will identify opportunities to:

  1. Reduce university energy costs.
  2. Decrease university environmental costs.
  3. Increase assurances that university energy systems will be reliable.

The Council reported to the University’s Administrative Council on a regular basis. The Administrative Council served as the steering committee for the Energy Affairs Council.

The Council was composed of about 20 members representing the many schools and institutional functions throughout the university. To serve as a starting point for discussion and planning, the Council focused on the following topics.

Temperature Policy

  • Reducing winter temperatures and increasing summer temperatures can save energy.
  • Determine appropriate temperature set points for the university from industry standards.
  • Determine the process for creating exceptions. Many schools have done this including Dartmouth, SUNY Buffalo, and Middlebury.

A temperature policy was released in 2009.

Some of the issues that had to be considered:

  • Enforcement
  • Ability of old systems to deliver precise temperatures
  • Special cases (health, research etc.)
  • Culture of “customer service”?
  • Expectations of faculty and staff regarding evening and weekend workplace conditions.
  • Budgets
  • Training
  • Departmental preferences

The following items were considered when constructing the policy:

Weekend and Night SetbackĀ  (winter and summer)

  • Reducing winter temperatures and increasing summer temperatures can save energy.
  • Reducing or increasing temperatures significantly during nights and weekends can save energy.
  • Determine appropriate temperature set points for the university form industry standards.
  • Determine the process for creating exceptions.

Electric Space Heaters

  • Electric space heaters are generally an inefficient way to heat a space.
  • In some cases, they are used as supplemental heat because the central systems are inadequate or because the central systems can be used more efficiently by using electric systems in spot locations.
  • In other cases, space heaters may be used to raise temperatures to levels determined to be comfortable by an individual.
  • Space heater technology varies and some models provide greater efficiency and safety than others.
  • Space heaters purchases are not centrally controlled.

Window Air Conditioners

  • Window air conditioners are quite inefficient.
  • Often, window fans will meet the required comfort needs.
  • Efficiency gains can result from purchasing/leasing the most efficient equipment possible.
  • Efficiency results from selecting the smallest A/C unit possible.
  • Removing or sealing the units can increase comfort during the winter.
  • Older units may contain old (regulated) refrigerants.
  • Ease of purchasing (currently most are rented)
  • Large numbers of the units

Purchasing and Contracts Guidance/Policy*

  • Many energy-using machines are available with a range of efficiency. For example copy machines, printers, computers, refrigerators, ovens, clothes washers, etc.
  • Selecting the most efficient models may have a small incremental first cost, but will often pay back in less than 5 years.
  • Contracts for goods and services can require efficiency as a criteria (Rutgers has done this extensively).
  • Significant research on a product by product basis will be required. However many guidelines exist and can serve as the Tufts standard.
  • Require Energy Star appliances or those meeting FEMP criteria.
  • Require suppliers to justify alternatives.
  • Require Tufts departments to justify alternatives.

Construction Standards and Standards for Contractors
Installing efficient systems during construction and renovation can save operating costs. Middlebury, Brown, and the MA Division of Capital Asset Management are among many who have implemented this.
Creating uniform standards that are part of the contract agreements can help make the standards enforceable.

  • Develop standards using existing standards such as Federal Energy Management Program or the new Massachusetts building code for ALL projects even if they would not otherwise apply. Middlebury, Brown, and the MA Division of Capital Asset Management are among many who have implemented this. Applying their standards to Tufts would be a start.
  • Develop guidelines for lifecycle costing.
  • Ask designers/contractors to provide efficiency information for all energy using equipment. Ask designers/contractors to provide alternates that are more efficient on any equipment over a determined threshold.
  • Require premium efficiency motors for all replacement motors.

Issues to consider:

  • Enforcement
  • Training for Tufts personnel
  • Perceived and real trade offs between first cost and operating costs.
  • JC contract and process.