UVA honored for energy savings at Clark Hall

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia is being honored by the U.S. Department of Energy for cutting energy use at many of its buildings.

Officials with the DOE took a tour of Clark Hall on Grounds on Tuesday. The university has cut energy usage by 65 percent at Clark Hall, compared to 2014. That translates to a savings of $750,000 per year.

Some of the changes were simple, such as installing LED lights into the building's 5,000 fixtures. The university also upgraded the HVAC controls.

Many of the rooms in the building were circulating air at a rate required for laboratory work, even if the room was not a lab. The new system customizes airflow to the needs of the individual room.

The university also installed low-flow toilets to reduce water usage.

Clark Hall was built in 1932 and served as the home of the law school. Now it houses the Department of Environmental Sciences and the Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library.

Jesse Warren, UVA's Sustainability Program Manager for Buildings and Operations, helped lead the project at Clark Hall. He says it is just the beginning.

"What excites me about this work is that it's never done," Warren said. "When we identify more savings opportunities, we can go in and fund them, and then once we've picked the 'low-hanging fruit,' we move on to the next thing."

Maria Vargas was one of the members of the DOE to take the tour of Clark Hall. She said the university is setting an example for organizations around the country.

"What UVA is demonstrating is that this is possible anywhere," Vargas said. "UVA is really doing great things to drive change through 500 buildings on campus."

As part of the DOE's Better Buildings Challenge, UVA has committed to improving its energy performance by 20 percent in the next decade.



 
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