Facilities and Campus Services
Facilities and Campus Services staff work to monitor and reduce energy consumption on campus.
Building automation systems (BAS) exist in most campus buildings here at Wake Forest. The campus makes great use of occupancy sensors that adjust lighting and control heating and cooling by detecting the presence of someone in a room. There are also sensors to determine bathroom exhaust fan speeds according to occupancy and to detect the need for certain amounts of hot water. Over the past few years, the implementation of such controls has resulted in a 20 percent decrease in electricity usage on campus.
You can track energy and water use in nearly every building on the Wake Forest campus using the building dashboard display.
Explore various applications of renewable energy technologies across campus, from solar thermal hot water at South Hall to solar photovoltaic demonstration panels on the Barn to solar-powered charging umbrellas on the Reynolda Patio.
- Refrigerant management (1)
- Rooftop solar (10)
- District heating (27)
- Solar water (41)
- Heat pumps (42)
- LED lighting (44)
- Building automation (45)
- Home water saving (46)
- Recycled paper (70)
- Retrofitting (80)
MATERIALS: Common Techniques and Technologies to Close the Loop
Refrigerant management is the top Drawdown solution. So, what is refrigerant management, and why is it important? Every refrigerator and air conditioner in existence contains chemical refrigerants that allow us to keep things cool. Up until recently, refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were key culprits in in depleting the stratospheric ozone layer. Upon discovery of their damaging effects, CFCs and HFCs were slowly phased out. Nevertheless, refrigerants continue to cause problems for our planet. Ninety percent of refrigerant emissions are created at the point of disposal, and without proper management of refrigerant waste, resultant emissions can be detrimental. In 2016, officials from more than 170 countries enacted the Kigali Deal, a mandatory agreement with specific targets and timetables for phasing out HFCs. It is estimated that the accord will reduce global warming by nearly one degree Fahrenheit. With the Kigali Deal in place, as well as additional safety measures for managing existing refrigerants, we may draw down carbon emissions by nearly 90 gigatons.
How does Wake Forest play its part in refrigerant management? Mike Draughn, Director of Maintenance & Utilities Services with Facilities & Campus Services (FACS), says that FACS partners with the university’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety to administer an all-encompassing, campus-wide program. “Basically, campus is treated as a giant balloon, and we try to measure any escaped refrigerants given both type and asset—the equipment from which it came.” Draughn states that FACS works to quickly identify and fix or replace any equipment that has a refrigerant leak or is at the end of its life. When appliances are discarded, refrigerant is either sold back to the installing contractor and reclaimed (for large items such as chillers), or is removed on campus and collected in warehouse recycling containers (for smaller equipment). “We always report a draw or deposit of inventory on any refrigerant that was either used or recycled and added to refrigerant storage in our warehouse. In terms of replacing and renewing appliances, we update and choose equipment based on a review of the most current, efficient, and environmentally-friendly refrigerant options.”
Wake Forest is also committed to Drawdown solution number 46—home water saving. If 95 percent of taps and showerheads are converted to low-flow options by 2050, we would avoid 4.6 gigatons of carbon emissions. According to Doug Ecklund, the Building Systems Manager for WFU FACS, we have seen a 45 percent increase in water savings as new buildings on campus are renovated and equipped with low-flow shower and water fixtures, as well as dual-flush toilets.
ENERGY: Planning for the Transition
One technology with which many are familiar is rooftop solar. First tested in 1884, solar capture technologies have become mainstream over the years and have seen increases in both affordability and effectiveness. If rooftop solar can grow from 4 percent of global electricity generation to 7 percent by the year 2050, we can avoid 24.6 gigatons of carbon emissions. There are several demonstrations of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology on campus: on the Barn, Reynolda Gardens greenhouse, and North Dining. To make a meaningful transition to solar PV, Wake Forest would need about 20 acres of panels. A changing regulatory environment in the state might release some of the current constraints on this transition.
Solar energy can also be used to heat water. Creating hot water for showers, washing dishes, and cleaning laundry makes up 25 percent of residential energy use worldwide. If solar water heating grows from 5.5 percent to 25 percent by the year 2050, we can draw down carbon emissions by 6.1 gigatons. This is currently the most cost effective application of solar technology on campus. South Hall’s water is heated by solar. Additionally, in phase three of the Reynolds Gym renovation, solar will be installed as a source of heating for the water for the pool.
BUILDINGS AND CITIES: Innovation in Our Urban Habitat
In terms of regulating the temperature of buildings in urban spaces, district heating is the way to go. Rather than having small heating and cooling units in each building, district heating entails funneling steam and/or chilled water from a central plant across a network of pipes to a variety of different buildings. By replacing stand-alone water and space-heating systems that currently exist with district heating techniques, we could draw down carbon emissions by 9.4 gigatons by 2050.
John Shenette, Wake Forest’s Associate Vice President for FACS, believes that the WFU campus is a great example of district heating. From the main Facilities plant, steam and chilled water are distributed to campus buildings through underground ducts to heat and dehumidify, through cooling, indoor spaces. “Wake Forest has invested a good deal of money into improved automation and controls,” says Shenette, “And for good reason—district heating and cooling is much better than individualized units in terms of efficiency.”
Building automation systems (BAS) are becoming very common in the commercial sector. In a building with a BAS, a centralized, computer-based “brain” monitors and controls all mechanical functions in order to operate under the greatest level of efficiency and effectiveness. If BAS usage expands from 34 percent of commercial floor space to 50 percent by the middle of the 21st century, we could draw down 4.6 gigatons of carbon and generate a large savings in operational costs. BAS exist in most campus buildings here at Wake Forest. The campus makes great use of occupancy sensors that adjust lighting and control heating and cooling by detecting the presence of someone in a room. There are also sensors to determine bathroom exhaust fan speeds according to occupancy and to detect the need for certain amounts of hot water. Over the past few years, the implementation of such controls has resulted in a 20 percent decrease in electricity usage on campus.
One efficiency solution that is easily recognizable from residential buildings and other locations across campus is LED lighting. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, convert electrons to photons and use 90 percent less energy to emit the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. In addition, LEDs have an extremely long life—27 years if turned on five hours per day. It is assumed that LEDs will become standard by 2050, replacing less-efficient bulbs and avoiding 7.8 gigatons and 5 gigatons of carbon in households and commercial buildings, respectively. LED lighting exists across the Wake Forest campus. According to Shenette, there are upwards of 1,000 LED fixtures both indoors and out.
From full renovation of residence halls on the upper quad to routine replacement of ordinary appliances, Drawdown solution number 80, retrofitting, is highly visible across campus. Retrofitting—updating existing buildings by installing better insulation, more energy-efficient features in the “envelope” like windows and roofs, and upgraded management systems—is taking place all around campus. “A great example of retrofitting is the Reynolds Gym,” says Shenette. “Rather than creating a brand-new building, we converted the bones of the original gym, revamped and reengineered everything with more efficient structural, electrical, and mechanical infrastructure. The same thing is also happening right now with the Salem Hall renovation. It’s incredibly innovative.”
Want to learn more about how you can play a part in Project Drawdown to reduce GHG emissions? Join us for a public lecture by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, the senior writer of Drawdown, on October 5 in the Byrum Welcome Center starting at 6:00 pm. RSVP here.
The university removed a total of 395 high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and incandescent bulbs, and replaced them with 78 LED fixtures that produce a brighter, cleaner light to the arena floor. The reduction from 419,000 watts to 32,832 watts with the LED system represents a 92 percent energy savings.
The LED lights dramatically improve the lighting quality of the coliseum while practically eliminating maintenance costs — LED fixtures last for over 10 years. The new systems also offers:
- Efficient controls – Provides instant on/off capabilities and dimming controls for when full power of the system is not needed.
- Special effects and visual experience – A control board for special effects allows for customized lighting for pre-game introductions, concerts, and other special events.
- Cost savings – The system will reduce energy consumption and associated costs at the Coliseum by 92 percent compared to previous lighting equipment.
“Wake Forest University Facilities and Campus Services has standards for renovation and new construction projects that incorporate sustainable products and practices. When the time came to replace the existing lighting in the LJVM Coliseum court, LED light fixtures were the perfect replacement,” Wendy Wooten, Senior Project Manager of Facilities & Campus Services, said in regards to the update.
In addition to their work at the Coliseum, the athletics department is currently renovating the varsity locker rooms in Manchester Athletic Center, enhancing the student-athlete experience while incorporating sustainability into the design. The sustainable features include:
- Occupancy sensors – These sensors automatically turn off lights and exhaust fans when not in use.
- Dual flush toilets – Unlike traditional toilets that use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, dual-flush toilets offer a 1.6 gallon high-volume flush and 1.1 gallon low-volume flush, resulting in a 63 to 69 percent reduction.
- Low flow shower heads – These low flow shower heads have a flow rate of no more than 1.5 gallons per minute, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in water compared to previous shower heads.
- Low flow faucets – Water consumption was reduced by 67 percent by installing faucets that use .5 gallons per minute versus 1.5 gallons per minute.
- Built-in recycling receptacles – Labeled with a “Go Deacs, Go Green” logo, these containers make recycling convenient and simple.
The Wake Forest Athletic Department and the Office of Sustainability teamed up to host the University’s first carbon neutral soccer game on Sept. 6, in a match against Appalachian State University. Dr. Miles Silman, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology and director of the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, served as the team’s honorary captain.
In preparation for the event, sustainability departments from Wake Forest and Appalachian State worked together to determine the carbon dioxide emissions from the team’s travel to and from Winston-Salem, as well as emissions generated from the stadium lights and fan transportation.
Carbon dioxide emissions generated from the game are being offset by We Are Neutral, a nonprofit organization that offsets homes, schools, businesses, travel, meetings, and sporting events. We Are Neutral creates offsets by planting trees on conservation lands, performing free home energy upgrades for low-income residents, and supporting the reduction of methane released from landfills.
During the game, members of the Office of Sustainability team interacted with fans to educate them about the impact of their activities on the environment and ways they can help reduce their carbon footprint.
“Our sustainability interns did a great job reaching out to fans of all ages and engaging them in our carbon footprint quiz, where they had to assess the relative emissions of air travel, plane travel, home energy use, and meat consumption. Our mission was not to condemn any of those activities, but simply to educate others so they can determine if more sustainable options may be appropriate in certain situations,” said Brian Cohen, Program Coordinator for the Wake Forest Office of Sustainability. “This initiative allowed us to reach a segment of the Wake Forest community that we do not have access to on a daily basis, and we look forward to coordinating with Athletics on more outreach opportunities in the future.”
The game ended with a 3-0 victory for Wake Forest and a small win for Planet Earth.
Think you were the only one resting this holiday break?
This past winter holiday break marked the seventh year Wake Forest has participated in the “Holiday Setback” program, during which we allow electrical use and steam production a bit of a holiday break—conserving both money and energy.
The energy savings during this 2014 winter break is estimated at $32,648; electrical savings were $28,436 (475,840 kWh) and natural gas savings were $4,212 (842 dT).
All seven holiday setbacks total to savings of $274,143.
This is one of the many examples of how sustainable practices are a great idea not only for the planet but also for our budgets.
By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer
Strike up a conversation with John Shenette, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services, and along with that genuine smile and deep Bostonian accent you will find a wealth of knowledge and passion about the role of facilities in higher education. Shenette joined Wake Forest University in March and has been a prominent figure on campus ever since. Facilities and Campus Services plays an important role in our effort to transform the campus, bringing strategic sustainability goals to fruition and providing metrics for continuous improvement.
What attracted you to Wake Forest?
I toured the university in 1997 and was struck by the uniqueness of the campus. However, the more research I did, the more I learned about the quality of education Wake provides and the presence Wake Forest has in the US and internationally. It was also evident to me that at Wake I would have the opportunity to engage with faculty and staff and continue to grow and learn in the profession, both of which were important to me.
Why are you interested in sustainability?
Sustainability in its definition is integral to facilitates. When you’re in facilities, it’s all about being a good steward. If you’re replacing equipment and buildings, everything hinges on the right materials. Awareness and adaptability is important. Technology changes and student lifestyles change and we must embrace that changing mindset. Facilities is no longer viewed as just a “physical plant,” it is now much more broad and engaging. It’s important for facilities to be a financial steward and support the mission and vision of the institution, which includes staying modern and incorporating sustainability.
What are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to embracing the Wake Forest culture and bringing Facilities and Campus Services from the background to the forefront so we’re seen as part of the fabric of the university. We can and should use our physical structures and lands as living, learning laboratories.
Faces of Sustainability is a regular feature on our website. You can read about past Faces of Sustainability here.
Wake Forest’s celebration of Earth Day this year included the announcement of Champions of Change award winners. This was the first year of the program, which recognizes the creativity and innovation of individuals and teams who work to integrate principles of sustainability across campus. Provost Rogan Kersh and Sr. VP/CFO Hof Milam presented the awards.
Winners were recognized in four categories: Resource Conservation, Service and Social Action, Teaching Research and Engagement, and Bright Ideas.
- Residence Life & Housing and Financial Services were jointly named champions of change in Resource Conservation. Residence Life and Housing dramatically reduced solid waste and conserved water through renovation and retrofit programs this past year; Financial Services supported the conversion to electronic business processes campus-wide.
- Campus Kitchen was named as a winner in the Service and Social Action category. Campus Kitchen repurposes prepared, but not served, food from our campus dining facilities into balanced meals for members of the broader Winston-Salem community.
- For Teaching, Research and Engagement, Lynn Book and her faculty colleagues Angela Kocze and Wanda Balzano were recognized for their work in the new course, “Women, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability.” Students collaborated with community partners Margaret Norfleet-Neff and Salem Neff, the mother-daughter team who founded the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market.
- Abby McNeal was recognized for her Bright Idea in turf management and the installation of the UgMo Wireless Soil Sensor System at Spry Soccer Field. UgMo is an underground monitoring system that measures soil moisture at the root level and determines when and how much to water on a zone-to-zone basis.
Thirty nominations were received for the four awards. A committee evaluated the nominations based on:
- The ways in which the nominees have helped advance one or more of the Wake Forest University campus sustainability strategic goals
- The level of participation by colleagues within the department or unit
- The measurable impact among constituents across campus or in the community served
Additionally, Green Team captains Peter Romanov, Darlene Starnes and Carol Lavis were named champions of change for their departmental leadership. 65% of our departments and units across campus are now led by Green Team captains – they support their colleagues with the resources and encouragement to integrate sustainability into everyday workplace decisions.
This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.
In March, we will accept nominations for awards that honor sustainability through:
- resource conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction),
- academics (teaching, research, engaged learning),
- service and social action, and
- bright ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented).
We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
Final results are in for Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), a competition to reduce energy and water consumption in residence halls in the US and Canada. Between February 4th and April 26th participating colleges and universities selected a three-week period for students to take direct action towards increasing sustainability on their campuses. Wake Forest’s own competition began on March 19th and wrapped up April 7th. Out of 120 participating schools, Wake Forest ranked in the top five for water reduction. Though the resource and cost savings achieved through the competition were victories unto themselves, the university’s top 5 ranking makes CCN 2013 an unequivocal success for the Demon Deacons.
The Office of Energy Management and Residence Life and Housing co-sponsored Wake Forest’s CCN effort. Claire Nagy-Cato (’14), an intern for the Office of Energy Management, headed up the organization of the competition. EcoReps, peer-educators for sustainability, and hall captains, representatives for the competition from each residence hall, performed educational outreach for CCN. The student body received energy and water saving tips through personalized room assessments, competition kiosks, and bulletin boards. Students could track energy and water consumption in their residence halls in real time using the Building Dashboard.
Nationally, CCN 2013 saved 2,114, 844 killowatt-hours of electricity and 1,681,241 million gallons of water. Wake Forest contributed 74,789 killowatt-hours and 139,196 gallons of water to that total. By reducing their consumption, Wake Forest students also kept 91,093 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and saved $5,443 dollars.
In addition to competing against other schools, residence halls on the Reynolda Campus also competed against each other to reduce. Palmer and Piccolo earned the top ranking for both water and energy reduction. The two residence halls, which are on a single meter system, together achieved a 23.4% energy reduction and an astounding 35.1% water reduction. Kitchen and Martin came in second and third place for energy reduction and Martin and Collins took second and third place for water reduction. Residents in Palmer and Piccolo celebrated their sweet victories with a Brynn’s frozen yogurt party. View a complete list of competition standings here.
Lauren Miller, director of engagement at Lucid (the company behind the Building Dashboard) found the results of this year’s multi-school competition impressive. Commenting on the collective reduction efforts of over 300,000 students, she says “These students are demonstrating that creating a culture of conservation and inspiring individuals to change their behaviors can significantly reduce their campus’ carbon footprint.”
While success in the competition is gratifying, the true purpose of CCN is to ingrain lasting, environmentally-preferable consumption habits among participating students. As the global community continues to seek ways to conserve limited natural resources, the results of CCN demonstrate that personal commitments to responsible consumption will play an integral role in creating a sustainable future. Wake Forest’s top five ranking in water-use reduction demonstrates that Demon Deacons are not only up to the task of sustainable living, but are ready to take the lead.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
It only seems appropriate to mark the anniversary of the Reynolda Gardens’ greenhouses and conservatory with a modern addition. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds set out over a hundred years ago to use Reynolda Gardens as a model of self-sufficiency for local gardeners and, even more,for the community.
These values are similarly shared with the larger community of Wake Forest University, whose motto is “Pro Humanitate,” which is translated as “for the betterment of humanity.” Ravish Paul, Energy Manager for the university, says his office is “always on the lookout for opportunities that benefit all.” Therefore, the decision to put solar panels on the education wing at Reynolda Gardens was not just a small demonstration of solar energy potential for the university, but also an opportunity to “educate and encourage the community to invest in a living which is in harmony with nature,” according to Paul.
During the spring 2011 semester, students in Physics and Chemistry of the Environment (PHY/ CHM 120) researched and reported on a variety of energy efficiency and alternative energy proposals for the greenhouse education wing. Among the recommendations was a report on the feasibility of a solar photovoltaic installation. Based in part on this hands-on learning exercise, Professor Richard Williams secured a donation of a solar photovoltaic array for the gardens. Though the donation did not match up with the specific requirements of the historic structure, the university’s energy manager was able to find a unit that was a good fit.
In February 2013, we installed the array on the south-facing roof of the education wing. Photovoltaics use solar cells to convert sunlight into energy. When several cells are connected in a panel or array, the power generation capacity is increased. Once the energy is generated, it is sent to the inverter, which converts it into a usable form. The usable energy is then supplied to the utility company’s electric meter to either slow it down or spin it in reverse. It is projected that these panels will offset ten percent of the greenhouses’ energy usage each year.
Why solar? The Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center found that our state has the potential to collect twice as much sunlight as Germany, the world’s leader in solar energy production. Photovoltaics are a common sustainable energy source and, in terms of global importance, rank third, behind wind and hydropower, in providing renewable energy. At the end of 2012, one hundred countries worldwide were using photovoltaics.
In many international cases, photovoltaic usage has become more economically viable than traditional energy sources. For example, citizens in Cambodia can purchase a solar lantern at the equivalent of twenty-five U.S. dollars and use it for years without any additional cost, while fuel for a kerosene lantern runs around thirty U.S. dollars per year.
One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Lester Brown, founder of the World Watch Institute, had this to say about solar power, “The growth in the use of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity can only be described as explosive, expanding by seventy-four percent in 2011. The world’s current 70,000 megawatts of photovoltaic installations can, when operating at peak power, match the output of seventy nuclear power plants.” Photovoltaics are not the only way to use the sun’s energy. The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both.
With issues of poor air quality, the destruction of natural areas, and the possible degradation of our groundwater arising from the use of fossil fuels, it is our privilege and responsibility to explore energy production in renewable and healthy ways. I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Edison, “I’d put my money on the Sun, what a source of Power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out, before we tackle that.” We hope that the installation at Reynolda Gardens is a step towards a better understanding of solar power’s place in the energy spectrum and a cleaner environment.
Since its inception, Reynolda has served as a model of natural innovation and education. Just as Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds used the Gardens to show others what could be done if given the means, we invite that same spirit in the work we do today. The greenhouses and conservatory, even after one hundred years, are an integral part of our mission. It is our vision that through our educational endeavors and our example we will inspire awareness and an improved understanding of our natural world.
By Amanda Lanier, Curator of Education, Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University
On March 6th, assistant professor of mathematics, Dr. Rob Erhardt, addressed a full room of eager listeners on the topic of global climate disruption. His talk, sponsored by the Math Club and titled Measuring Climate Change, drew a crowd from across campus, including Dr. Erhardt’s fellow Mathematics faculty, students, and staff members from the Office of Sustainability and the Wake Forest Humanities Institute.
Dr. Erhardt hoped to achieve two goals through his talk: “I wanted to show the Math Club students one way they could apply their mathematical education and I wanted to give a general talk about the science of climate change [for other members of the audience].”
The talk began with basic definitions of the words climate and climate change. Dr. Erhardt, a statistician himself, proudly pointed out that the American Meteorological Association defines climate change as “any systematic change in the long term statistics of climate events (such as temperature, pressure, or winds) sustained over several decades or longer.”
After defining terms, Dr. Erhardt laid out the talk’s single equation: a calculation of Earth’s temperature based on the interaction of solar energy received by the Earth, reflectivity (the degree to which Earth reflects solar energy), and emissivity (the degree to which of Earth’s atmosphere allows radiated solar energy to escape into space).
Dr. Erhardt explained that, while solar input remains roughly constant, both the reflectivity of Earth’s surface and the emissivity of Earth’s atmosphere can change. As Dr. Erhardt pointed out, these factors have changed since the mid-20th century, resulting in an overall increase in global surface temperatures. Dr. Erhardt cited the conclusions of the most recent report by the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and attributed most of the increase in global average temperature to human beings, who have increased the atmosphere’s concentration of greenhouse gasses, changing the atmosphere’s emissivity.
Dr. Erhardt went on to discuss how global climate models can predict how much temperatures will rise in the future based on different scenarios. He also reviewed current research trends, which involve creating regional climate models and grappling with the difficulty of “single event attribution,” or attempts to take one particular extreme weather event (like a hurricane) and determine if the changed climate has increased the risk of such an event.
“Climate science can be intimidating. I wanted to present the science in an accessible, friendly way”, says Dr. Erhardt. He explains, “People have a general respect for scientists, but I want them to understand a little bit more about what climate scientists are actually doing, like where they are getting their data and how they are using it.”
On March 27th, Dr. Erhardt will deliver Measuring Climate Change at a brown bag lunch for the Biodiversity and Environmental Science group of the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability