10x12 pilot lowers energy use, cost

The Chemistry Building at Western Washington University was one of four campus buildings involved in the 10x12 pilot program during the 2011-12 school year to reduce utilities consumption and cost. File photo by David Scherrer | WWU

Western Today staff

Western Washington University saved $24,000 during the 10x12 pilot project last year in four campus buildings, and now the successful pilot will morph into two university-wide programs for the coming year.

Because of the pilot's success, departments in in Arntzen Hall, Parks Hall, Biology Building and Chemistry Building shared a total award of $6,787, representing 25 percent of the money saved through the program in the 2011-12 school year.

The overall goal of the 10x12 program is to reduce utilities consumption and cost 10 percent by the end of 2012. In the 10x12 pilot buildings, electricity consumption averaged 7 percent less, and water consumption was reduced by an average of 14 percent, due to building systems improvements by Facilities Management and conservation awareness throughout campus. Natural gas consumption in the pilot buildings was less than expected, considering square footage added and use changes in the pilot buildings since the baseline measurement. The decrease in natural gas use avoided over $32,000 in heating costs for the 2011-12 year.

The 10x12 program also included a campus-wide two-degree temperature turndown and night setback initiative along with the power-down reminders sent to all departments.

The successes of the 10x12 pilot will be continued in two university-wide programs, continuing work toward the 10-percent goal:

  • The most effective and doable actions to reduce energy and materials consumption and waste are compiled in the Top 10 Actions for 10x12. All members of the campus community are invited to support Western’s climate action plan goals in this next phase. A poster outlining Top 10 Actions for a Sustainable Western will be available for every department. Information, guidelines and tools are on the Office of Sustainability website. Contact the 10x12 program manager to receive additional copies of the poster for your office or department.
  • Sustainable Office Certification will recognize office groups that promote awareness of conservation and make a commitment to best practices. The SOC is an easy-to-use system, custom-designed for Western, for measuring and rating the operations of high-performance, green offices. SOC will be available to all campus offices by mid-fall 2012. Western Libraries Circulation, the Office of Financial Aid and Environmental Health and Safety have signed on to the new SOC program as test offices. Offices or departments interested in testing the SOC tools this summer should contact the office of Sustainability by June 30.

Cash awards based on a portion of utilities reduction in buildings will not be continued into the next phase of the program due to challenges in distinguishing behavior-based and operations-based conservation and questions of equity due to differences in building function and design. Instead, a portion of campus utilities savings will go toward materials and supplies supporting the expanded campus-wide 10x12 program.

For more information, contact Carol Berry, 10x12 program manager, at (360) 650-7979 or carol.berry@wwu.edu.