AUSTIN – Over the last nine years, The University of Texas System cut energy use by 16 percent, resulting in savings of $196 million and surpassing a goal to reduce energy consumption, the UT System announced today (Nov. 11).
“This meaningful reduction in energy consumption demonstrates the System’s commitment to being a responsible leader in statewide energy conservation efforts and a conscientious manager of state assets,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “For every dollar saved in reduced utility costs, there is a dollar to be invested in the future of higher education in Texas.”
Michael O’Donnell, the UT System’s associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction, noted that while the cost of energy per square foot across the System increased since 2001, energy use per square foot declined steadily over the same period.
According to the 2009-10 Energy Utility Task Force Report, the UT System exceeded its goal to reduce energy consumption by 10 to 15 percent by Fiscal Year 2011.
Faced with rapidly increasing utility costs, the task force was created in February 2001 to evaluate and recommend strategies for UT System institutions to reduce energy consumption, better manage price fluctuations and leverage purchasing power to reduce energy costs. In November 2001, the task force presented several recommendations and targets to the Regents for reducing energy consumption throughout the System.
In October 2005, the governor’s office issued an order requiring each state agency to develop a plan for conserving energy and to provide quarterly reports. UT System’s quarterly reports detail an array of ongoing energy-saving activities taking place at the institutions.
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.