Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner University of Virginia (UVA) for impressive energy efficiency advances made on its campus. UVA is home to more than 40,000 students, faculty, and staff and more than 500 buildings. As a partner in DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, UVA committed to improving its energy performance by 20% in 10 years across 15.3 million square feet. 

Representatives from DOE visited UVA’s Better Buildings Showcase Project Clark Hall  to tour the building’s energy and water upgrades. UVA implemented a combination of energy and water conservation upgrades, converting all 5,000 interior and exterior fixtures from fluorescent lamps to LED, installing low-flow toilets and faucet aerators, recalibrating air handling units, and upgrading HVAC controls. As a result, Clark Hall achieved an annual energy savings of $750,000, or 65%, along with an annual water savings of $22,000, or 79%, relative to their pre-retrofit baseline.

Clark Hall is a mixed-use academic building that opened in 1932 to house the UVA School of Law, and currently houses the university’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library. Because the building serves many purposes, the retrofit required significant input from its different stakeholders. Clark Hall is home to classrooms, office space, a library, a café, laboratories, exhibits, lecture halls, and a “wet lab.” Performing renovations required a great deal of customization to ensure the building operated appropriately for each space.

More than 900 organizations now partner with DOE in Better Buildings and have saved more than $8.4 billion in energy costs to date. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy-efficient by facilitating investment and the sharing of best practices. Greater efficiency saves billions of dollars on energy bills, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and creates jobs.

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