by Dr. John Vann, Department of MarketingGreen Initiatives CoordinatorFebruary 2003
As bulk purchasers of electricity, we are charged a base rate derived from the one 15-minute block of time during the month with the most intensive electrical usage. Daily peaks normally occur between 9 AM and 2 or 3 PM. Peak usage, expressed in kilovolt amps (approximately the same thing as kilowatts), is multiplied by $14.719 to determine our base rate for the month. Then our total month's usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) is multiplied by 1.088 cents/kWh (residential rates are around 7 cents/kWh) and added to the base rate to determine our bill for the month. Our greatest financial savings come from reducing peak usage. Expenditures on non-peak reductions have a long financial payback period whereas environmental and social benefits occur immediately.
Facilities management has substantially reduced our energy footprint. Even with more facilities, more air conditioning, more computers, our electrical usage per square foot and absolute usage have gone down. They achieved this by using more variable-speed electrical motors, better insulation and windows, advanced temperature controls, more efficient lighting, timers on light switches and other technical fixes that we users never see. In addition, specifications for our new buildings incorporate energy-saving technologies. These innovations and heating system modifications have yielded annual savings of over $1,500,000. Linking Shideler Apartments to the Ball State sub-station yielded more savings by bringing its electrical usage into the bulk-purchasing plan and avoiding the 7 cents/kWh residential rates. Over the last ten years energy savings resulted in avoiding emissions of over 68 million lbs. of CO2, over 317 thousand lbs. of sulfur dioxide, and over 180 thousand lbs. of nitrous oxide.
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