Sustainability at UAA, now and into the future

by Catalina Myers  |   

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    Graphic design by Brett Rawalt, University of Alaksa Anchorage
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SLIDE 1: Sustainability at UAA

Housed within UAA’s Facilities and Campus Services Department (FCS), the Office of Sustainability promotes sustainability across UAA and within the community through environmentally wise, economically sound and socially responsible actions.

SLIDE 2: Three main goals

UAA’s Office of Sustainability is concentrating on three main initiatives:

  • Investment.
  • Operational controls.
  • Community responsibility.

SLIDE 3: Project and operational investment analysis

FCS determines whether they can invest in updating campus buildings infrastructure to more energy-efficient models by analyzing outdated:

  • Lighting.
  • Boilers.
  • Heating/cooling systems.

SLIDE 4: Exploring options through audits and updates

UAA FCS and the Office of Sustainability explore current trends to determine whether new technologies can be adapted for UAA’s buildings in the following ways:

  • Energy Savings Performance Contracting.
  • Asking for a loan.

SLIDE 5: Automation technology creates more sustainable buildings

  • Set points: Save money by creating a cutoff once a building reaches a certain temperature in either winter or summer.
  • Flexible systems: Allows FCS to adjust the temperature within a building as needed.
  • UAA FCS is currently working to incorporate automation technology in all campus buildings.

SLIDE 6: Sustainability is the responsibility of the entire UAA campus community

  • Turn off the lights: If you’re the last one out of a classroom, office space or building.
  • Shut it down: Power off your computers, electronic devices or other energy-draining devices like personal heaters and small appliances.
  • Help UAA save: By turning off lights and powering off electronic devices and appliances you help the university save thousands of dollars each year.

SLIDE 7: A little goes a long way when it comes to energy savings

  • When UAA’s campus closed due to COVID-19, FCS completely closed four buildings and restricted access to the rest of the university’s buildings portfolio from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. across campus.
  • According to Mahoney’s sustainability report from March to June, UAA saved 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of energy savings translating to more than $300,000 in savings over three months.

SLIDE 8: Microturbines and the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building (CPISB)

  • FCS is currently in the process of applying for a U.S. Department of Energy grant to install microturbines on the top of CPISB.
  • If approved, UAA would be the first public entity in the state harnessing this technology to power a building. 
  • FCS and the Office of Sustainability are partnering with the College of Engineering and Micah Hahn, assistant professor of environmental health with the Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies on this grant.

SLIDE 9: The takeaway

FCS and the Office of Sustainability have made many updates to create more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings across campus, saving the university millions of dollars in energy costs, but there is still much work to be done through: 

  • New technology. 
  • Updating campus buildings and their infrastructure.
  • Automating heating/cooling systems.
  • Educating and encouraging the university community to be responsible partners in creating a more sustainable and energy efficient campus.
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