UVA’s eighth annual UVA Saves hour will be occurring on Thursday, June 22nd from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. UVA Saves hour is part of a statewide test by the Demand Response Program to reduce electrical demand; during this hour UVA has agreed to reduce its electricity consumption by 12.9 megawatts. This effort is designed to help prevent strain on the electric grid during peak demand periods. When the electric grid is approaching high demand, the Demand Response Program taps large state institutions, such as UVA, to drop their electric grid loads in order to accommodate increased demands from across the region. This program helps curb electricity consumption and increases the electric grid’s reliability through high demand periods.

In order to achieve this goal UVA plans several large scale actions which will contribute to a majority of the 12.9 megawatt reduction goal. The domestic water storage levels of the Alderman Road Water Pumping Station – UVA’s main domestic water pumping station – will be evaluated, and pumping will be secured or reduced as necessary. As opposed to previous years in which certain systems were switched over to generators, this year unnecessary systems will simply be cut off and while the lack of generators will not reduce the grid’s consumption it will reduce the emissions during this period. The water heating and cooling plants will shut down and switch over to the storage tanks housed there. Finally, members from the Facilities Management Operations Department will be dispatched to locate any building loads around Grounds that could be reduced, including air handlers and lighting that are serving currently unoccupied spaces.

While UVA will be making reductions at the university scale it is important for individuals to do their part to reduce electricity consumption during this hour as well. All across Grounds, offices, departments, classrooms, and labs will be reducing their electric consumption as part of UVA Saves Hour. What can you do to help? Walk through your building to make sure that all unnecessary lights are switched off, especially in hallways, conference rooms, and other shared spaces. Switch off and unplug any nonessential items at or near your work space, including fans, lights, peripheral monitors, cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, digital photo frames, and printers. Turn off lights and open blinds to let in natural light. Dim your computer screen background and keyboard lighting.

Share how you plan to reduce electricity consumption on UVA: Tweet us @sustainableuva your response with the hashtag #UVASAVESHOUR for a chance to win prizes.