Energy and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Since committing to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, UMB has been finding ways to reduce its energy consumption on campus. Carbon neutrality is an effort to decrease greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are the result of human activities such as deforestation, land use change, and fossil fuel burning. 

Energy use is one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is contributed to climate change. To combat climate change, UMB is reducing its use of electricity, fuel, and steam, and investing in renewable sources of energy. UMB has made strides in creating more efficiencies in its building systems to reduce energy including: 

  • Replacing older lighting fixtures with more energy efficient LED light bulbs
  • Examine heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment in addition to lighting, plumbing, and other infrastructure systems to identify deficiencies and needed repairs
  • Metering to track and access energy usage data
  • Building automation to create standard set points
  • Building to LEED Silver standards
  • Investing in renewable energy

UMB’s Energy Reduction Team was formed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The reduction team’s work allowed the University to save over $2 million during the months of April-November.

Energy Saving Tips

Looking for some tips to save energy on campus and at home?

  1. Switch to LEDs to save energy and reduce the number of bulbs you end up tossing.
    1. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use about 25 to 80 percent less energy and last three to 25 times longer than the typical incandescent bulb (U.S. Department of Energy). To create the same amount of light, an incandescent bulb emits 60 watts of energy compared to 12.5 watts for LEDs.
  2. Take advantage of natural lighting.
    1. Already have LEDs installed? Try keeping the lights off if you can.
  3. Set your thermostat! Generally, 68 degrees during the winter and 72 degrees in the summertime.
  4. Use the dishwasher instead of handwashing—it saves water (and energy).
  5. Avoid energy “vampires” by unplugging items not in use.
  6. Turn off your monitors, printer, and other electronics when not in use.
  7. In a lab? Remember to close your fume hood when not in use.
  8. Need to keep your equipment on? Utilize the standby mode.
  9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, if you are able.
  10. Educate your peers. 

Energy-Related Frequently Asked Questions

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) exist in the earth’s atmosphere. They absorb and trap heat from the sun which results in global warming and climate change. Greenhouse gases include: 

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Industrial gases:
    • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
    • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
    • Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
    • Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) 

Source: US Energy Information Administration

What is CO2e?

The shorthand for “carbon dioxide equivalent” (also written as CO2 equivalent). We often hear about carbon offsets and carbon neutrality but that is actually a generalized term to include all of the greenhouse gases. CO2e is a conversion of all other greenhouse gases’ impacts beyond carbon dioxide.

Source: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials

Why does my office feel warmer in the summer time and cooler in the winter?

UMB uses building automation to control temperature settings. As seasons change, the building automation system automatically adjusts to a range that can save energy but still maintain at a comfortable level.

What is building automation?

Building automation allows UMB to control building HVAC equipment and lighting remotely to ensure optimal operations. As issues arise, we can troubleshoot the problem quickly to resolve the customer's issue. Doing this remotely via computer can save time instead of dispatching a technician to the building.

Building automation also can save damage to equipment and prevent loss of research. Critical alarms are monitored to ensure rapid response to issues.

Additional Information:

EmPOWER Maryland