A committee studying energy conservation said the university can potentially lower energy usage and costs through such steps as auditing buildings for energy waste, closely monitoring use of utilities in buildings, burning biomass with coal in the steam plant and converting to hybrid vehicles that run on renewable fuels.
The Energy Conservation Executive Committee also calls for a comprehensive communication and education program to help employees and students understand the importance of saving energy-and what they can do about it.
The recommendations are in an initial report the committee submitted this summer to Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. and Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration.
Work already is under way on some of the recommendations, including building audits and the education program. While some recommendations will require funding for new equipment, the committee said energy savings can be achieved through such simple steps as turning off lights and closing water valves.
“We think all the recommendations are doable,” said committee chair Tom Adams, director of outreach services for the Faculty of Engineering. “Some will require capital outlays but they will result in a good payback on the investment.”
The committee was created in February by Mace and Hank Huckaby, Burgess’ predecessor who retired June 30.
Its purpose is to follow up on the work of four committees formed in 2005 to study how UGA can save money on energy costs through alternative transportation, alternative work schedules, energy conservation in buildings and fuel conservation.