Mason to Hold ‘Lights Out — Power Down!’ on June 21

Posted: June 17, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: June 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

The following information was provided by Mason’s Office of Energy Management

Mason’s Office of Energy Management encourages all students, faculty and staff on the Fairfax Campus to participate in its “Lights Out Power Down!” event to be held on Tuesday, June 21, from 2 to 3 p.m.

Community members will be asked to turn off and unplug, if appropriate, all noncritical lighting and electrical loads prior to and during the one-hour event to kick off the university’s summer electrical demand management program.

As a large consumer of electricity, Mason has enrolled in Interruptible Load Reliability (ILR), a demand response program that pays customers in exchange for a commitment to reduce electrical load in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in outages.

Program participants must successfully demonstrate for one hour their ability to meet their load reduction commitment. Lights Out Power Down! will coincide with Mason’s scheduled demonstration test.  Mason’s commitment this year is a 1,500 kilowatt reduction.

What can you do to save energy? A few suggestions are

  • Turn off office, common area and hallway lights
  • Turn off personal computers and peripherals not in use
  • Turn off shared electronics (televisions, projectors, copiers, printers, fax machines, etc.) when not in use
  • Unplug appliances (coffee makers, refrigerators, washers/dryers, cooking equipment, etc.) when not in use
  • Turn off laboratory equipment not in use

Facilities Management encourages all building occupants to turn off and power down. In addition, Facilities Management HVAC and Building Automation staff will be reducing air conditioning levels in select, noncritical areas. Those impacted will be notified prior to the event.

Mason has participated in the ILR program for the past three years. With an annual 1,500 kilowatt reduction commitment Mason has received $181,920 to date.

ILR is sponsored by regional electric grid operator PJM Interconnection, overseen in Virginia by the Virginia Department of Mining, Minerals and Energy and administered by EnergyConnect Inc.

Such commitments by large electricity consumers help electrical utility companies to meet the peak electricity usage (demand, measured in kilowatts) that typically occurs during hot, humid summer afternoons and early evenings. The ability for their largest consumers to conserve significant amounts of energy allows them to continue to maintain the service needed and avoid brownouts and blackouts without having to install expensive additional capacity.

Campus electric power consumption will be closely monitored by both Facilities Management personnel and EnergyConnect before, during, and after Lights Out Power Down! to determine the impact of campus participation.

“Full university participation is needed during Lights Out Power Down! to reach our goal,” says Patrick Buchanan, Mason’s energy manager. “This effort will not only help us reduce our electrical demand, consumption and cost, but most important, it will count toward reducing our carbon footprint. These are win-win opportunities for both utility companies and their customers.”

This initiative is part of Mason’s commitment to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, and every year thereafter investing in carbon offsets to counterbalance all remaining emissions, as outlined in the President’s Climate Action Commitment and Mason’s Sustainability Policy.


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