University of Utah: Energy performance

Energy Performance
Cumulative (vs. Baseline)25%
Annual (2019)5%

Better Buildings Challenge Partners strive to decrease portfolio-wide source energy use intensity (EUI) compared to a set baseline.

The University of Utah’s portfolio consists of more than 280 buildings and over 17 million square feet. Total energy consumption and costs are the lowest they’ve been since 2011, despite a 25% growth in total building area over the same time span. The University of Utah has improved energy performance by 25% from a 2008 baseline, far exceeding its original goal of a 20% reduction by 2020.

Energy use intensity savings were realized with a focus on operational efficiency, source energy management, and use of increasingly-efficient infrastructure in construction and renovation projects. Zone scheduling, controls optimization, lighting and HVAC system upgrades, the use of analytics to identify and validate failed equipment, and thermostat usage guidelines have all contributed heavily to increased operational efficiency and the University of Utah’s success in achieving the BBC goal.

Although resource mix is not currently accounted for within ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the tool used to measure performance toward this EUI goal, the University of Utah has also drastically improved the impacts of energy supporting its campus. A 20-megawatt geothermal power purchase agreement (one of the largest renewables contracts in the nation for a university) started delivering power in Fall 2019. This geothermal agreement brought the University of Utah to 53.7% of its electricity coming from renewable energy. By the end of 2021, additional solar renewable power purchase agreements are expected to provide 71% of the University of Utah’s electricity from renewable sources. 

Large-scale construction projects, including expansions to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and Rice-Eccles Stadium that were launched in 2019, are showing projections of 20-30% improvement over code in energy performance. 

The University of Utah takes great pride in reducing, avoiding, and improving energy consumption.