Energy. It's all around us. It's what keeps us warm in the winter, comfortable in the summer and sheds light on our work, learning opportunities and social engagements. Energy powers the lab equipment used in research and runs life safety systems to protect us. It's the backbone of our access to a world of online information, allowing for a global reach and instant communication. Because of it, we can enjoy a hot shower, a delicious meal or music with friends. It's everywhere.
Energy. It's not free. Its use does not come without consequence. Energy costs, although subject to some market fluctuations continue to rise. In the past year alone electricity costs are up about 10%, natural gas is up about 15% and water is up 7.5%. The campus utility budget is now roughly a $16 million line item. In addition, traditional methods of energy production rely heavily on fossil fuels, of which consumption entails negative environmental impacts. In particular, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels are contributing greatly to global climate change.
Through a comprehensive energy conservation program, the university has an opportunity to make better and more efficient use of this valuable resource. In turn, helping to reduce university expenditures and mitigate campus GHG emissions.