Approximately 84 million Americans spend their days in colleges, universities, and public or private primary and secondary schools. The commercial building sector, which includes educational institutions, accounts for 18.44 percent of overall energy consumption in the United States. Education buildings are ranked third highest of all commercial buildings, consuming over 600 trillion Btus of energy each year. Given these consumption levels, educational institutions have an opportunity to make a significant impact to increase energy efficiency in this country. The University of Michigan (herein, also “the University” or “UM”) has been working diligently to be leaders in this charge.
In 2012, the Alliance to Save Energy proposed a goal of doubling energy productivity in the United States by 2030, thereby getting twice as much economic output for every unit of energy input. This goal inspired Johnson Controls, Inc. (herein, “Johnson Controls” or “JCI”) to approach the University with a Master’s Project, enabling a group of students to learn from the expertise of Johnson Controls, and to be active participants in sustainability efforts at the University of Michigan. Additionally, the findings and recommendations developed to increase energy productivity on campus should likely contribute towards the University’s existing sustainability goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
This project seeks to harness the knowledge, technology and best practices honed by Johnson Controls from decades of experience in energy conservation projects, as well as the expertise from the University of Michigan, including various professionals and organizations that actively work towards energy efficiency measures on campus. Leveraging these and other resources, our six graduate student member team (Appendix A) analyzed the University of Michigan’s current energy demand and management. We learned about the extensive work the energy management team has already been doing for several decades in some areas on campus, and about what opportunities there are for improvement.