Projects Highlights

Energy Highlights


The green lights program, driven by the U-M Office of Campus Sustainability’s Energy Management team, aims to save energy and money by replacing current light fixture lamps with more energy efficient lamps. This program was developed in 2015 to replace existing 32-watt fluorescent lamps with 25-watt lamps.

These new lamps yield a 22 percent savings over the older lamps and they will last longer thus reducing cost and waste.

This program is currently underway in several buildings on campus with the end goal of replacing light fixture lamps in over 100 buildings.

Energy savings from this program support the University’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025.

This program has been completed in the following buildings:


Lab Hibernation Program

Lab facilities have long been a focus of Energy Management, due to their high energy use per square foot.  Labs are energy intensive because conditioned air is sent into the space and exhausted through the fume hoods as “once through”. The air is not recirculated for safety reasons. When there are changes in research or researchers, lab spaces and fume hoods are unused for long periods of time, with the air exchanges happening as a fully functional lab.  Energy Management team developed the Lab Hibernation program to combat this waste. The program safely and quickly puts unused lab space and fume hoods into a hibernation state. The hibernation state lowers the air exchanges in the lab.  The programs was able to hibernate 21 hoods so far, which has saved $8,000 over the past few months and the savings continues to grow with each passing day. The program is coordinated with OSEH, Plant Operations staff and the building’s facility managers.

See article in the Plant Exchange


Occupancy sensing technology in BSRB

It was noted by occupants and the Planet Blue Operation Team that lights were lit during unoccupied times and the heating and cooling ventilation was also active during the unoccupied times in the office ribbon. The recommendation was to install occupancy sensors in the ribbon area offices to control lighting and HVAC off during unoccupied times.  In addition, the ribbon area office fans schedule will be modified to turn the fans off during night hours.  The new lighting and HVAC upgrades will reduce the overall utility usage and provide energy savings. The estimated savings are $113,100/yr.

Fan scheduling at School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry has 11 major air handling units that provide heating, cooling and fresh air to its nearly 380,000 square feet of building space.  In the spring of 2011, the PBOT reviewed the fan schedules with the facility manager and identified many opportunities to trim back the fan schedules throughout the complex in order to save energy.  Many air handling units were running late into the night and on the weekends unnecessarily.  After trimming the schedules and fine tuning them over the first year, the School of Dentistry has avoided over $200,000 (or 19% based on FY2013 utility costs) in utility costs annually because of these changes.

Lab Sensors in Atrium Labs – Chemistry Building

The HVAC system in all atrium level teaching laboratories in the Chemistry Building were recently renovated to include Phoenix controls on the exhaust airflow side and a manual HVAC turndown switch. The installation of a HVAC turndown switch was agreed upon by the Chemistry Facility Staff, OSEH, and the Building Engineering Team. Upon installation there was a training program implemented to ensure proper operation of the system. However, over time the operation of the HVAC turndown switch has been decreasing. During the initial Planet Blue walkthroughs, only 50% compliance from the laboratory users was noted, leaving several laboratories unnecessarily operating in unoccupied conditions.

ECM recommendation: All parties agreed to convert this system from a manual switchover to an occupancy sensor driven switchover providing the laboratory air change rates are maintained at 10 ACH during unoccupied periods, and the training program for graduate student instructors is maintained.
Under this project the 14 atrium level teaching labs were outfitted with dual-technology occupancy sensors to toggle the HVAC system and lighting between the minimum and maximum settings. These changes will result in significant energy savings (motor horsepower, heating, and cooling systems)

Lighting in Rackham

Lights (chandeliers and wall sconces) in reading rooms were turned on daily at 6:00am and off at 11:00pm to make stately reading rooms warm and inviting. Some on 24/7. Rooms were seldom occupied for extended lengths of time. Occupancy and daylight sensors installed to take advantage of ambient daylight and periods of inactivity. Team worked with building managers & users to pilot alcove room to verify the ambiance of the room was maintained. Signage installed to educate occupants.
Lights on for ~35/hrs wk, down from (up to)168 hrs/wk, Electricity savings: 278,560 kWh/yr
Annual Savings: $21,310