Efficient building energy usage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Students and staff drive important efforts to improve energy efficiency, raise awareness, and integrate mindful energy consumption across the university. These efforts are leading to work through various programs to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on campus.

Buildings account for about 70% of the electricity load, 40% of all energy consumption, and 40% of CO2 emissions in the U.S. Hence, making buildings more energy efficient can be one of the fastest and, with rising energy prices, most cost-effective ways to reduce GHG emissions. IUPUI is working to increase the efficiency of campus buildings as well as tackle other energy-related challenges.

A selection of our most innovative practices are highlighted below.  For a full list of our campus energy efforts, visit the CFS sustainability page.

Solar power

IUPUI has solar panels on top of the BS/SPEA building.  Installed in 2013, these panels produce 43 kilowatts of electricity a day, an amount that would supply the daily electricity needs of over two dozen houses.  The 164 solar panels, measuring 77 by 39 inches each, supply a portion of the building's power needs, offsetting some electricity costs.

Purchased green power

IUPUI purchases 10% of its total electricity usage as renewable energy thanks to AES Indiana's Green Power Option.  The small premium assessed for this purchase goes back to supporting renewable energy development in the Midwest.  IUPUI's green power use of more than 20 million kWh is equivalent to the combined annual electricity use of more than 1,800 average American homes.

Energy reduction

IU has a number of energy-saving initiatives across the university that reduce our carbon footprint.  

IUPUI has instituted set points for heating and cooling. In spring and summer, the cooling set point is 76 degrees. In fall and winter, the heating set point is 70 degrees.

The Power Down campaign encourages energy reducing behaviors in our campus community prior to holiday breaks.  Behind the scenes, our campus energy teams adopt more aggressive temperature set points.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to exchange their space heater for an electric blanket, which uses up to 90% less energy.

Energy efficiency

IUPUI employs a number of best practices in energy efficiency: LED lighting on occupancy and photoelectric sensors; cloud-enabled, smart sub-metered buildings; variable frequency drives on motor and pumps; HVAC systems tied to space utilization; LEED building commitment; and more.  These efforts have driven down IUPUI's energy usage per square foot, despite the addition of more campus buildings. 

LEEP Campaign Award

IUPUI has received the national Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking Campaign - Exemplary Higher Education Sector Parking award for its efforts to reduce energy use in parking garages.  Bi-level LED lights with photocell and occupancy sensors installed in Riverwalk, Sports Complex and University Hospital garages reduced energy by 58%, saving 1,062,756 kWh - enough to power 92 homes annually.

The primary goal in energy management is reducing the energy consumed by campus to be good stewards of our resources.  If resources aren’t being used to fulfill the campus mission, they are being wasted, and we actively look to eliminate any energy that is not used to further the mission of IUPUI.

Holly Thomas, Asst. Director of Energy and Utilities, IU Capital Planning and Facilities