Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
OP-5: Building Energy Efficiency

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.99 / 6.00 Kim Briele
Associate Director of Engineering Operations
Facilities Operations Eng
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Electricity use, performance year (report kilowatt-hours):
kWh MMBtu
Imported electricity 182,664,871 Kilowatt-hours 623,252.54 MMBtu
Electricity from on-site, non-combustion facilities/devices (e.g., renewable energy systems) 133,472 Kilowatt-hours 455.41 MMBtu

Stationary fuels and thermal energy, performance year (report MMBtu):
MMBtu
Stationary fuels used on-site to generate electricity and/or thermal energy 1,358,944 MMBtu
Imported steam, hot water, and/or chilled water 0 MMBtu

Total site energy consumption, performance year:
1,982,651.95 MMBtu

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
11,646,003 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 613,316 Square Feet
Healthcare space 101,144 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 252,751 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
13,327,674 Gross Square Feet

Degree days, performance year:
Degree days
Heating degree days 4,522 Degree-Days (°F)
Cooling degree days 1,138 Degree-Days (°F)

Total degree days, performance year:
5,660 Degree-Days (°F)

Start and end dates of the performance year (or 3-year period):
Start date End date
Performance period Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2019

Total site energy consumption per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area per degree day, performance year:
26.28 Btu / GSF / Degree-Day (°F)

Electricity use, baseline year (report kWh):
kWh MMBtu
Imported electricity 193,195,986 Kilowatt-hours 659,184.70 MMBtu
Electricity from on-site, non-combustion facilities/devices (e.g., renewable energy systems) 126,624 Kilowatt-hours 432.04 MMBtu

Stationary fuels and thermal energy, baseline year (report MMBtu):
MMBtu
Stationary fuels used on-site to generate electricity and/or thermal energy 1,371,299 MMBtu
Imported steam, hot water, and/or chilled water 0 MMBtu

Total site energy consumption, baseline year:
2,030,915.75 MMBtu

Gross floor area of building space, baseline year:
10,048,489 Gross Square Feet

Start and end dates of the baseline year (or 3-year period):
Start date End date
Baseline period Jan. 1, 2016 Dec. 31, 2016

A brief description of when and why the energy consumption baseline was adopted:

Virginia Tech has recently completed a five year energy action plan with the ultimate goal of reducing campus-wide energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at the Blacksburg, VA main campus. This plan included several different types of energy conservation projects as well as the installation of advanced utility metering and the development and use of an Energy Management and Data Analytics Platform. Energy conservation projects included LED lighting retrofits, mechanical and controls system improvements (i.e. variable frequency drives, lab ventilation optimization, and equipment scheduling), retro-commissioning of HVAC controls, and insulation and building envelope improvements. The retro-commissioning effort was initiated in spring 2018 and includes improved fault diagnostics and detections, leading to multiple findings resulting in simple paybacks of less than two years. As part of VT’s on going climate action commitment, a ten-year energy management plan is currently in development.


Source-site ratio for imported electricity:
3

Total energy consumption per unit of floor area:
Site energy Source energy
Performance year 0.17 MMBtu / GSF 0.28 MMBtu / GSF
Baseline year 0.20 MMBtu / GSF 0.33 MMBtu / GSF

Percentage reduction in total source energy consumption per unit of floor area from baseline:
16.81

Documentation to support the performance year energy consumption figures reported above:
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A brief description of the institution's initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency:

Virginia Tech has recently completed a five year energy action plan with the ultimate goal of reducing campus-wide energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at the Blacksburg, VA main campus. This plan included several different types of energy conservation projects as well as the installation of advanced utility metering and the development and use of an Energy Management and Data Analytics Platform. Energy conservation projects included LED lighting retrofits, mechanical and controls system improvements (i.e. variable frequency drives, lab ventilation optimization, and equipment scheduling), retro-commissioning of HVAC controls, and insulation and building envelope improvements. The retro-commissioning effort was initiated in spring 2018 and includes improved fault diagnostics and detections, leading to multiple findings resulting in simple paybacks of less than two years. As part of VT’s on going climate action
commitment, a ten-year energy management plan is currently in development.

Initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency (e.g., outreach and education efforts):
- light switch stickers encouraging people to turn them off
- Office of sustainability programming
- increased outreach and coordination with various facility and lab managers regarding space usage, temperature setpoints, and equipment scheduling

Lights Out Power Down:
Every year, Virginia Tech and the surrounding community participates in Lights Out Power Down. During a one-hour time period on an annual basis, the university reduces its campus electrical demand. This is part of a program called the Interruptible Load Reliability Energy Reduction Program. The program is part of Virginia Tech's agreement with PJM Interconnection, Virginia's regional electric transmission grid operator, and is managed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy and administered by CPower.

As a large consumer of electricity in the region, Virginia Tech's participation helps mitigate the loss of power in the broader community during times of peak energy usage, such as hot, humid summer afternoons and early evenings. This program allows the university to test its ability to meet that demand should those conditions occur. Essentially, Lights Out Power Down is our annual training run to practice for when we may be called to reduce our energy consumption by PJM.

Lights Out Power Down is a prime example of the university community's commitment to environmental stewardship in action. This program is an illustration of how Virginia Tech is making strides in reducing its environmental footprint and building sustainability awareness. The efforts are also a clear reflection of Virginia Tech's Climate Action Commitment.

Virginia Tech has been participating in Lights Out Power Down for over 10 years now. In 2019, the university reduced its campus electrical demand to an average 20,500 kilowatts from a 28,450 kilowatts peak earlier in the day, almost an 8,000 kilowatt reduction. The demand goal for the 2019 event was 22,000 kilowatts for the hour, a reduction of only 5,200 kilowatts which we surpassed.

Since 2010, Virginia Tech has recieved more than $1.8 million by participating in the Interruptible Load Reliability Energy Reduction Program. Virginia Tech's participation helps prevents brown outs and power loss on high demand days.

Members of facilities are trained on how to respond when we are called to Power Down at the university. Additionally, managers speak to their employees about actions they can take to assist in power down, training them on how to be less energy demanding and therefore more sustainability. The entire university community participates in this event. Community members are asked to turn off lights, turn off personal computers, turn off shared electronics, unplug appliances, and turn off lab equipment that is not in use.

Throughout the day, Facilities Department employees canvass campus to encourage and assist building occupants to turn off unnecessary lights and equipment and power down. In addition, air conditioning levels in select, noncritical areas will be reduced. Those impacted will be notified prior to the event.

More information can be found at the following links:
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2019/07/ops-lightsoutpowerdown19.html
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2018/06/unirel_lightsout2018.html
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2011/06/061411-facilities-powerdown.html


A brief description of energy use standards and controls employed by the institution:

The university uses a digitally based building automation system to provide normal temperature and humidity control for ~80% of campus buildings. VT new construction and capital renovations standards include current versions of the International Energy Code and ASHRAE 90.1. Efforts continue to bring existing buildings to modern energy code compliance and often utilize lighting occupancy sensors, variable frequency (speed) drives on various electric motors, carbon dioxide sensors (demand-controlled ventilation), and other advanced HVAC control techniques. VT is committed going forward to construct only LEED Certified Buildings.


A brief description of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and other energy-efficient lighting strategies employed by the institution:

Buildings across campus have been identified for LED retrofit potential, based on budget and campus master planning. To date, over 15 major lighting retrofit projects have been completed across campus in a space totaling 1.6 million GSF, providing substantial electrical energy and demand savings at an average payback of 5.2 years. These retrofits fill the space with high-efficiency lighting technology. As part of some of these retrofits, occupancy sensors and dimming controls are installed. While the retrofits have reduced demand and saved electrical energy, they have also increased the quality of lighting for all types of campus users. All new campus buildings must have LED lighting per the university design standards.


A brief description of passive solar heating, geothermal systems, and related strategies employed by the institution:

Many of our 100% outside air units include heat recovery devices in various forms including run-around glycol loops, air to air heat exchangers, heat pipes, and enthalpy wheels. These systems recover heat from within the building generated by equipment, people, and lighting contained in return and exhaust air streams to reduce mechanical heating and cooling energy associated with these systems.


A brief description of co-generation employed by the institution:

The Central Steam Plant is a Co-Generation asset that produces centralized steam and simultaneously uses some of that steam as a by-product to generate up to 6.25 mega- watts of electricity. That electricity production offsets the electricity purchased by the university for distribution across campus and within Blacksburg. This Virginia Tech Co-Generation asset helps to increase the thermal efficiency of the Central Steam Plant, reduce greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions, consume no cooling water in generating electricity, and refocuses infrastructure investments on distributed generation and smart energy options. The university recently completed the installation of a nearly $7 million, 100,000 pound-per-hour gas-fired boiler in place of a decommissioned coal boiler. Beyond the long-term financial benefits, the new gas boiler will result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and increase the plant’s overall capacity to meet future campus growth.


A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace energy-consuming appliances, equipment, and systems with high efficiency alternatives:

Commissioning of existing buildings or “retro-commissioning,” is a systematic process applied to existing buildings for identifying and implementing operational and maintenance improvements and for ensuring their continued performance over time. Beginning in 2018, the Office of Energy Management increased this effort significantly in buildings in the Energy Action Plan. Over 700 individual RCx measures have been proposed since, of which 300 have been implemented with over 400 still to be addressed. Hundreds of other RCx measures are in study or development, or awaiting approval for implementation. RCx will continue to be a major contributor to reducing energy consumption on campus. Building re-commissioning is also performed on campus, occurring when older buildings that may or may not have been commissioned are revisited and the equipment is checked for performance and replaced as needed with more efficient models. Mechanical insulation is also being upgraded to ensure heated or cooled air or water being transported does not lose its desired temperature, saving energy use behind the heated or cooled air or water.


Website URL where information about the institution’s energy conservation and efficiency program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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https://www.facilities.vt.edu/energy-utilities/energy-reduction-efforts/demand-side-management.html
https://www.facilities.vt.edu/energy-utilities/energy-reduction-efforts/five-year-energy-action-plan.html
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/02/ops-energyactionplan.html
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2018/12/ops-5yearenergy120518.html
https://www.facilities.vt.edu/planning-construction/design-and-construction-standards.html

Energy data comes from the Virginia Tech Office of Energy Management, which tracks and analyzes building energy consumption and major plant utilities. The Office of Campus Space Planning provided building square footage and the Office of Analytics & Institutional Effectiveness provided personnel/student numbers.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.