Energy at Penn Lunch Session

gathering looking at presenter and energy use slide
October 24, 2019

The Energy at Penn lunch on Wednesday, October 23, featured Ben Suplick of FRES Operations and Maintenance and served as an educational opportunity for attendees to learn where Penn’s energy comes from, FRES efforts to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, and how building occupants can conserve energy.

Ben described the main components of energy/carbon emissions at Penn,

  • Electricity
    • Supplied locally by PECO
    • Penn owned distribution system
    • 45 MW peak- 300,000,000 kilowatt-hrs/year
  • Chilled Water
    • Penn owned generation/distribution
    • 35,000 tons of cooling peak
  • Steam
    • Supplied by Veolia Energy
    • Penn owned distribution system, leased to Veolia
    • 400,000 mlbs of steam peak

explained what Penn is doing to reduce energy/emissions (particularly at the building level),

  • Expand energy data awareness
  • Implement carbon reducing measures through the Enhanced Recommissioning program, SCADA/continuous recommissioning and proactive maintenance and recommissioning. 
  • Understand options to mitigate steam emissions.
  • Investigate a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). 
    (During the November 2019 University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees Meetings, a resolution was passed authorizing the University to enter into negotiations for a power purchase agreement to supply solar generated electricity for 75% of the University and Health System’s load.)

and gave detail on what utilities are controlled at the building level vs. what can be controlled by individual occupants, including:

  • Adjust thermostat if you can
  • Utilize power strips (5-10% of household energy)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible (Elevators and escalators account for 2-5% of energy use)
  • Use power management settings on your computer (save $30 in electricity costs per year)
  • Use the Bright Colors or Delicates setting on the washing machine to utilize cold water (75 % of the energy to do a load of laundry goes into heating the water)
  • Use a drying rack instead of a machine dryer to dry laundry (average dryer uses 3.3 kilowatt hours of energy)

This event was co-sponsored by the Climate Reality Project, a student group within the Student Sustainability Association at Penn.