Frequently Asked Questions
- What does the Energy Management Program do?
- What are the major components of the Energy Management Program?
- How much does the campus spend on energy now?
- What does the Energy Office do?
- What is the financial incentive program?
- What does the outreach campaign do? Don’t we already make an effort to reduce energy in our buildings?
- I’ve heard that we’re be able to see how much energy our building is using in real-time – how does that work?
- How can I help?
- Why do we need an Energy Policy?
- Is there an incentive program for purchasing more energy efficient office equipment?
- How is the campus saving energy beyond asking for individual behavior change and the work of the Energy Office?
- Why isn’t the campus using submetering?
- Since meters are per building not per department, how are energy use baselines and incentives allocated?
- Why is campus installing energy meters in buildings?
Energy Management at UC Berkeley is a comprehensive program aimed at permanently reducing the amount of energy the campus uses. It empowers faculty, staff, and students to take simple energy savings measures that will reduce our environmental footprint and save the campus money ─ returning those funds to teaching and research. Prior to this initiative, occupants rarely knew how much energy they used or how much it cost. The Energy Management program now provides this detail. With more information and financial incentives, our campus community is better equipped to save energy.
The Energy Management program consists of four components:
- An Energy Office to track, oversee, and manage energy use;
- Financial incentives to Operating Units to encourage energy conservation;
- An outreach program that focuses on individual action to reduce energy use; and
- A campus Energy Policy to provide an administrative framework to support energy-wise decisions and choices across the campus community.
The campus currently spends around $32 million on electricity, steam, natural gas, and water. About half is funded by the state and one-quarter is for auxiliaries. The remaining one-quarter comes from general funds that would otherwise be spent on the teaching and research mission
The Energy Office tracks, monitors, and manages energy use campus-wide to reduce energy costs; improves design, performance, and operation of buildings; and provides feedback on energy use to building occupants.Energy Office staff continuously monitor the operations and maintenance of campus facilities and are in contact with Building Managers regarding their facilities’ operation and utility consumption.
Utilizing campus utility data, the incentive program encourages energy conservation behavior at the unit and individual level. Since our energy consumption can be affected – positively or negatively – through multiple daily decisions on campus, the incentive program enables us to recognize and be informed about the costs of consumption. Operating Units (OUs) that use less electricity than is allocated will receive an incentive payment, while those that exceed the allocation will incur overage charges beginning in the second year of the program. Because OUs will be able to better manage energy use, participating units can actively decide where to seek savings, qualify for tangible incentives, and utilize cost savings to fund new projects for additional energy savings or other needs.
The Outreach Program aims to make energy use more visible; create tools and share ideas on ways to reduce energy use; create interesting, compelling, and consistent messages; and establish social norms around using less energy. Key elements of this effort include myPower.berkeley.edu providing access to building performance data, along with energy surveys, and resources on how to reduce energy use. The campaign will also coordinate with Procurement and IT to make energy-efficient equipment easier to purchase.
The campus has contracted with Pulse Energy to provide dashboards for most major buildings to demonstrate the real-time effects of individual energy-savings measures. Almost 70 buildings are now connected and more will be added. The Energy Office continues to oversee the installation of the software and of video monitors that will display energy usage in the lobby of some buildings. You can view them online 24/7 at:us.pulseenergy.com/UniCalBerkeley/dashboard
Everyone is encouraged to take action - click here to see what simple actions you can take!
If you are interested in volunteering with myPower, you can become a Power Agent! Power Agents (PAs) are UC Berkeley volunteers committed to engaging the campus community in actions that reduce energy use in buildings. PAs work within their area to encourage behavior change and decrease energy use and collaborate with others in their building and unit to identify potential energy-saving projects. PAs receive training, resources, and a toolkit to better assist energy conservation on campus.
The Energy Policy provides an administrative framework to support energy-wise decisions and choices across the campus community. The Energy Policy will help achieve the vision of the Energy Management Initiative (EMI) by reducing costs, more-effectively utilizing resources, and instilling a culture of continuous improvement and waste avoidance.
The campus is committed to promoting energy efficiency and conservation to benefit students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. Beyond reducing utility bills, careful energy management helps protect the environment and extends the life of equipment, while also maintaining a comfortable setting in which to learn, teach, and work.
We have this policy because of our commitment to the environment, and our leadership role as responsible stewards of the physical environment. The policy will help us manage energy consumption in accordance with these values that minimize the consumption of energy, maximize the efficiency of energy use, and reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions.
At this time, there is no separate program for energy efficient equipment. However, BearBuy highlights equipment that uses less energy by labeling ENERGY STAR and EPEAT certified items.
Since 2006, the campus has funded multiple energy efficiency projects in new and existing campus buildings as part of a system-wide partnership with PG&E. These infrastructure projects have reduced electricity consumption by over 19 million kWh and yielded annual cost savings of almost $2.5 million. Greater efforts are still needed and additional projects are planned at all campus buildings over 50,000 square feet, or about 70-80% of campus space.
Using submeters to distinguish usage within buildings poses technical challenges. Commonly, the electrical wiring and components do not exactly mirror the way a building has been subdivided organizationally. Having more granular meters – on individual pieces of equipment – can provide useful information, but can be cost prohibitive. There are a couple of examples of buildings that are submetered on campus; Sutdarja Dai and Wurster Halls.
To resolve this challenge, Operating Units’ baselines will be established by prorating building‐level consumption based on the portion of a building’s square footage assigned to each OU. Prorating will be based on the percentage of assigned space (primarily office, lab, and studio space) listed for each OU by the campus Space Management office. Unassigned space (primarily restrooms, hallways, and lobbies) will be prorated in proportion to OU assigned space.
The new meters give building occupants and facility management staff access to real-time data on energy use in individual buildings. This detailed data is used for the incentive program, identifying additional problems, and to help drive behavior change.