How much do you think Mason spends on electricity each year? If you guessed about $10 million, you are correct! So the more energy we save, the more money we will have to invest in other university services and benefits. According to George Mason University's emissions inventory, emissions from our buildings produce over 65% of our emissions. Mason has committed to reducing its environmental impact as much as possible, with the eventual goal of climate neutrality, and has invested in designing and operating our buildings as energy efficiently as possible. But Mason greatly needs your help to achieve that goal. You can do simple things to reduce your energy consumption like turning off lights, unplugging unused appliances or electronics, sharing appliances, and purchasing energy efficient items.
Since 2005, Mason has worked with Siemens Building Technologies to upgrade its buildings to be more energy and water efficient. Highlights of our work include upgrading our heating and air conditioning equipment, replacing existing lighting with more energy efficient lighting and occupancy sensors, installing low-flow water fixtures, and improving our building automation system to match weather and occupancy schedules. Each year, Mason saves close to $2 million from these efforts.
Additionally, in 2012, Mason purchased 10% of its annual electricity use in wind powered Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This purchase of RECs avoids over 17 million pounds of CO2 emissions, which is like taking almost 1,500 cars off the road for a year or like powering 963 homes for a year! Buying RECs also supports the development of the renewable energy industry in the United States. Mason will continue to investigate opportunities to save more including providing real-time, publicly available energy information and renewable energy options on campus.
If your office or department wants to do more or check on its sustainability progress, check out Mason's Green Office certification program.