UT Arlington saving millions of dollars by reducing energy use on campus

ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington has saved nearly $3 million in energy and maintenance costs through a recently completed program aimed at upgrading equipment to make the campus more environmentally friendly.

Other changes on the way are expected to net another million dollars a year when completed next year.

UT System officials recently announced that the 15-institution system has cut energy use by 16 percent since 2001, resulting in savings of $196 million and surpassing a goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by fiscal year 2011. UT Arlington has played a significant role in those efforts as it works to increase green building practices and promote sustainability-related academic programs.

"The University of Texas at Arlington takes seriously its commitment to reducing energy use on campus," said John Hall, UT Arlington vice president for administration and campus operations. "Most recently, energy performance contracts with Siemens Building Technologies and TDIndustries, will allow the University to further enhance operational efficiencies, and create a better living, working and sustainable environment for students, faculty and staff."

Savings over the past year-and-a-half come primarily from improvements made as part of an energy conservation project UT Arlington initiated with Siemens Industry Inc. The project was funded through an $18 million loan from the UT System.

Between 2006 and 2009, Siemens evaluated the campus for energy saving opportunities and then implemented the improvements. Some of those included retrofitting inefficient lighting systems in several campus buildings; transformer upgrades; steam trap replacements; and a recommissioning of the campus’s energy management system.

UT Arlington realized a savings of $2,754,103 million in energy and maintenance costs from May 2009 through April 2010 – the first year that the changes were fully in place. The savings represent a reduction of more than 19 million kilowatt hours and are expected to continue at a similar or greater rate.

"UT Arlington has proven to have the foresight into energy reduction measures to ensure true energy cost savings are realized," said Kelly Baxley, the UT Arlington account manager for Siemens. "Their commitment to providing energy efficient facilities that do not sacrifice comfort can only enhance the educational experience of students that come from all around the world to study at UTA."

The University also recently embarked on similar energy conservation project with TDIndustries Inc. The $9.9 million project is being funded through a low-interest loan provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The changes planned as part of that project – including replacing two thermal plant chillers as well as upgrades to heating and air conditioning and other systems – are expected to save the university $1,133,488 annually and decrease energy usage by 9,831,232 kilowatt hours annually. That project is scheduled for completion in December 2011.


Media contact: Traci Peterson, tpeterso@uta.edu, 817-272-9208