Green Energy in Pennsylvania


In 2001, Penn became a national leader in the use of renewable energy through its agreement to purchase 20 million kilowatt hours of wind-generated power per year for three years. Penn funded the premium cost of wind energy through savings from an aggressive energy-conservation program that reduced peak demand by 18 percent. In September 2002, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection honored the University for its commitment to alternative energy consumption. In 2003, Penn extended its wind power purchase to a 10-year commitment, providing sustained funding that led to the construction of a new 12-turbine wind farm in Pennsylvania.


Penn saves more than $5-million annually in energy costs through state-of the-art central monitoring and control of utilities. From its Operations Command Center, Penn engineers can control campus-wide chilled water and steam utilities, and air-handling systems in buildings across the campus. Through sophisticated temperature/time optimization, temperature setback, and demand management techniques, Penn is able to avoid costly peak utility charges and conserve energy year-round.


Campus buildings are fed from a central chilled water loop completed in 2007 after 19 years of planned incremental growth and an investment of over $200 million. Penn's chiller plant freezes water at night when energy costs are low to provide supplemental daytime cooling capacity, reducing Penn's burden on the regional electrical grid and saving money.


The University has commissioned the School of Design's TC Chan Center to provide both a building-by-building campus energy model, and a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory. This work, carried out over the past several years, will allow the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services to simulate efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction strategies in design, construction and energy management. The inventory provides a benchmark to measure future conservation efforts.

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