The Virginia Tech community exceeded its goal during the June 23 Light’s Out!/Power Down! event held on campus.

Lights Out!/Power Down! was a campus-wide event designed to demonstrate the university’s ability to reduce energy load consumption in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in outages. 

After the hour-long event, preliminary results reveal that the university exceeded its goal by approximately 2,500 kilowatts. Confirmation of actual reduction is expected in the next several days.

The university’s goal for this year was a 6,000 kilowatt reduction, an increase from last year’s goal of 3,000 kilowatts. The ability to successfully demonstrate this reduction is a requirement for the university to receive a $204,831 phased-in payment as the result of its successful participation in this summer’s PJM “Interruptible Load Reliability” (ILR) demand response program.

“We are extremely pleased with the results. A lot of work went into preparing for this event. Thanks go out to everyone at the university who participated, without the effort of each individual, these extremely positive results would not have been possible,” said Fred Selby, campus energy manager with Facilities Services. “Particularly noteworthy is the fact that nearly 20 percent of the load reduction came from lighting and plug loads.” 

Impact for the future

The successful demonstration sets the stage for the rest of the 2011 summer season and for future summer seasons as well. The Office of Energy and Sustainability within Facilities Services is responsible for developing an ongoing electricity demand management and usage reduction program.

“We will now be notifying campus via campus notices on the Virginia Tech News website and daily news emails when we anticipate reaching a peak electricity usage day,” noted Selby. “As expected, campus peak usage typically occurs on extremely hot, humid summer afternoons.”

By notifying campus of an anticipated peak usage day in advance, the hope is that the entire campus community will do its part to attempt to reduce the energy used by turning off all non-critical lighting and electrical devices and by allowing selected air conditioning levels to be reduced slightly.

“The reduction that we achieve during these times will contribute to the university’s sustainability goals and will also reduce the financial charges brought to Virginia Tech Electric Services for usage during peak times,” said Selby. “It will have a positive impact all the way around.”

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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