Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Emily Vollmer
Submission Date May 16, 2024

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
OP-5: Building Energy Efficiency

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.42 / 6.00 Emily Vollmer
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Electricity use, performance year (report kilowatt-hours):
kWh MMBtu
Imported electricity 202,751,513 Kilowatt-hours 691,788.16 MMBtu
Electricity from on-site, non-combustion facilities/devices (e.g., renewable energy systems) 43,000 Kilowatt-hours 146.72 MMBtu

Stationary fuels and thermal energy, performance year (report MMBtu):
Stationary fuels used on-site to generate electricity and/or thermal energy 1,282,840.64 MMBtu
Imported steam, hot water, and/or chilled water 0 MMBtu

Total site energy consumption, performance year:
1,974,775.52 MMBtu

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
11,014,986 Gross square feet

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 630,660 Square feet
Healthcare space 102,423 Square feet
Other energy intensive space 261,516 Square feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
12,742,668 Gross square feet

Degree days, performance year:
Degree days
Heating degree days 4,668 Degree-Days (°F)
Cooling degree days 900 Degree-Days (°F)

Total degree days, performance year:
5,568 Degree-Days (°F)

Start and end dates of the performance year (or 3-year period):
Start date End date
Performance period Jan. 1, 2022 Dec. 31, 2022

Total site energy consumption per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area per degree day, performance year:
27.83 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):
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:

Total energy consumption per unit of floor area:
Site energy Source energy
Performance year 0.18 MMBtu per square foot 0.30 MMBtu per square foot
Baseline year 0.20 MMBtu per square foot 0.33 MMBtu per square foot

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

Documentation to support the performance year energy consumption figures reported above:

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency:
-A team of energy interns have created and distributed a survey to assess student behaviors and beliefs in regards to energy consumption on campus, garnering nearly 700 responses. The interns then analyzed this data and presented their findings to stakeholders during Climate Action Commitment Day.

- Developed initiatives to shift individuals' attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency. These include increased outreach and coordination with various lab managers regarding space usage, temperature setpoints, and equipment scheduling. Virginia Tech also enhanced its Winter Break Energy Savings Initiative. The Office of Energy Management reached out to students, residents, faculty and staff through emails and social media to provide suggestions for energy conservation. In addition, the university worked to set back HVAC temperature setpoints in non-critical common spaces during the holidays when the university was closed.

-Sustainable Labs – engaged labs, developed a new checklist to improve participation

-Lights Out Power Down – engaged community in demand response event in 2022. Program operated differently in 2023 so we did not participate in the same way this year.

A brief description of energy use standards and controls employed by the institution:
The university uses a digitally based building automation system to provide temperature and humidity control for ~80% of campus buildings. New construction and capital renovations standards were updated in 2022 to ensure that the design and construction of buildings at Virginia Tech comply with the Virginia Energy Conservation Code as well as ASHRAE 90.1. Efforts continue to bring existing buildings to modern energy conservation codes including lighting occupancy sensors.

A brief description of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and other energy-efficient lighting strategies employed by the institution:
The lighting across campus has been audited and inventoried to develop a plan to convert the entire campus lighting to LEDs. Currently, 25% of the Blacksburg campus buildings have been converted to LEDs. Project is underway to convert the lighting of 26 buildings (1,500,000 Sq. Ft.) to LEDs in the coming year. Virginia Tech has plans to engage an Energy Service Performance Contractor (ESPC) to complete the remaining 5.9 million square feet of campus buildings, anticipating 9 million kWh/yr of potential savings. Conversion to LED lighting has the potential to reduce electricity consumption by 50 percent or more. These LED retrofit projects will comply with the current energy conservation codes, IES guidelines, and standards. Additionally, 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:
As part of the Utility Master Plan, Virginia Tech will explore the feasibility for a geothermal/geo-exchange energy system and passive solar heating for the new Student Life Village.

A brief description of co-generation employed by the institution:
The Virginia Tech power plant is a co-generation asset that produces centralized steam and simultaneously uses some of the steam as a by-product to generate up to 6.25 MegaWatt (MW) of electricity. The steam turbine-powered generator produced 26,094,411 kWh of electricity at the plant from July 2022 through June 2023. That electricity production reduces the university's demand for grid purchased electricity. Co-generation increases the thermal efficiency of the Virginia Tech power plant, reduces greenhouse gases and other emissions, and refocuses the infrastructure investments on distributed generation and smart energy options.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace energy-consuming appliances, equipment, and systems with high efficiency alternatives:
Virginia Tech continues to implement its 10-year Energy Action Plan with the intent to reduce campus-wide energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at the Blacksburg, VA main campus. This plan includes a variety of initiatives such as energy efficiency projects including mechanical system and controls optimization, HVAC retro-commissioning, LED lighting overhaul, and an Energy Saving Performance Contract (ESPC). Some additional initiatives are described in more detail below.

In 2021, Virginia Tech conducted an engineering assessment of the energy management system and the opportunities for improvement. The study identified that the optimization and RCx of VT’s mechanical systems and controls as key to achieving the Climate Action Commitment carbon reduction goals. The report revealed $5.5 million/year in energy efficiency savings. Since this assessment, several buildings have gotten modernized building automation systems (BAS) installed that enable advanced automation and energy savings initiatives. Campus wide modernization efforts are being planned.

Virginia Tech is developing an annual steam trap performance management program for increased steam efficiency. In 2022, the Office of Energy Management (OEM) performed ultrasonic testing of steam trap performance and retro-commissioning of the traps at the central steam plant. The program will address the remaining steam traps on campus where all traps will be tagged, inventoried, and analyzed in software. Deficiencies identified will be subsequently corrected. An annual process will result, and ongoing efficient operations will be sustained.

In spring 2023, the Office of Energy Management completed an assessment of 783 fume hoods in 45 buildings on campus. The fume hoods were evaluated for energy savings opportunities and provided an implementation roadmap for a fume hood program. A quick payback project for HVAC retro-commissioning and laboratory ventilation optimization in 12 buildings has begun. This project will yield nearly a four percent annual reduction in campus energy use. The University will continue to build out this program.

In addition to airflow calibrations, Virginia Tech is improving occupancy-based temperature and ventilation control (OBTAV) throughout campus buildings. Working closely with all stakeholders, OEM is using occupancy sensors to safely adjust temperature and ventilation within energy-dense lab/science buildings and classrooms when spaces are vacant. In addition to the OBTAV program, Virginia Tech installed a laboratory ventilation optimization system and program for a large laboratory building on campus. This air quality monitoring and optimization system installation measures and reports air quality safely in real-time while reducing unnecessary energy usage. Virginia Tech has plans to expand this pilot to other energy hog laboratory buildings on campus.

Website URL where information about the institution’s energy conservation and efficiency program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.