University earns energy award

SAN MARCOS — Flex Your Power, a California statewide energy efficiency campaign, has awarded Cal State San Marcos with a Flex Your Power Award for leadership in energy efficiency. The award winners this year have saved more than $227 million, 1.5 billion kilowatt hours, 122 billion gallons of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 billion pounds.
Flex Your Power recognizes business organizations in five categories: 1) Energy Efficiency, 2) Media and Education, 3) Innovative Products/Services, 4) Peak Demand Response, and 5) Water Conservation/Efficiency.
Cal State stood out above the many strong applications and was selected for the Peak Demand Response category. This category recognizes efforts to reduce peak power use and protect the California power grid during times of high demand by shifting loads, shutting down systems and taking immediate conservation action.
In summer 2007, Cal State employed a variety of methods to help stabilize the local grid in San Diego Gas & Electric territory, which included turning off lights and redundant elevators, increasing temperature set-points on chillers, and backing off pumps. The entire campus engaged in a well-publicized effort to turn down equipment including fume hoods, computers, printers and set-points on package units. The total effort resulted in a 150 kW, or 9 percent, peak demand savings. In addition, Cal State is in the midst of major campuswide upgrades that are expected to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent from the 2007 baseline.
“I can’t take all the credit,” Ed Johnson, director of Facility Services, said. “There are many departments and people around campus that also deserve credit. Steve Holbrook, our controls specialist, wrote the computer program to turn off the hall lights and building equipment when notified. Wayne Veres, Bill Ward, and the IITS crew have a program to turn off unused computers in the library and computer labs when notified. Dean Manship notifies Building Marshals to turn off unnecessary equipment and lights in their areas. The library staff under Marion Reid also opens the blinds and turns off unneeded lights over the stacks, which is our biggest savings.”
As a Flex Your Power Award winner, Cal State will be highlighted with other winners in full-page advertisements in the January 2009 issues of Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, as well as other publications, Web sites and listserves. In addition, the campus had the opportunity to accept a trophy and meet other leaders in energy savings from around the state at the annual Flex Your Power Awards ceremony held Dec. 15 in San Francisco.
The Cal State University system (all 23 campuses) was listed as an Honorable Mention. Visit to learn more about the Flex Your Power awards.