UNL has worked aggressively to lower its energy usage over the past 15 years. The work has paid off - UNL has seen a net decrease of energy usage during simultaneous growth in building space. However, we can do even better. It will take continued efforts by building operators and users alike.
One important tool we are implementing to help us reach our energy conservation goals is the UNL energy dashboard. This dashboard provides real-time energy-use data for 16 buildings across City and East Campuses. These data provide opportunities for targeting energy conservation practices that can work to lower peak energy demand and total energy use.
Another benefit of the dashboard system is that it creates a platform for significant occupant engagement. It allows building occupants to receive instant feedback for energy saving behaviors. This feedback is vital to inspire the positive behavior change we need to reach our energy conservation goals.
The energy dashboard system also acts as a platform for competitions like UNL Unplugged, the annual energy-saving competition that takes place as part of the nationwide Campus Conservation Nationals. The competition pits UNL's residence halls against each other to see who can lower their energy usage the most. During the three-week 2015 competition, residence halls saved a total of 127,377 kilowatt-hours, resulting in $7,770 dollars of savings and the avoidance of 191,447 pounds of CO2 emissions, placing UNL second in the Big Ten and among the top 40 schools nationwide.