Campus Energy Use

The Office of Energy Management is responsible for the efficient use of energy on campus.  The annual utility bill is about $27.7 million, and the annual electrical bill is about $14.7 million.  Between 2005 and 2017, use of electricity declined 31 percent per square foot by improving energy efficiency of buildings, modifying use of energy during holidays, and educating students, staff members, and faculty members about the need for energy efficiency.


Energy Savings Initiatives

The Energy Management Office within the Facilities Division is responsible for monitoring and reducing campus energy use. Energy Management provides an Annual Energy and Water Report that details the university’s energy and water consumption.

The University has invested in two combined heat and power facilities located at the Cates and Centennial Central Utility Plants. These systems allow for the production of electricity and utilizing the waste heat to produce steam, which provides an efficiency of over 70%. Having these systems on campus improves the reliability of the electrical services, reduces impacts to the environment and provides utility savings.

The Cates facility includes two 5.5 MW combustion turbines with heat recovery steam generators. The 2013 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for the North and Central Campuses were reduced by 24 percent from 2010 due in part to this facility. This project was funded by utility savings from the production of on-site electricity and steam generated from the waste heat. The project also funded improvements at the Yarbrough Central Utility Plant, which had been utilizing 60 year old boilers.

The Centennial Central Utility Plant in 2017 will have one 5.5 MW combustion turbine with a heat recovery steam generator and a 0.94 MW steam turbine generator. The waste heat from the combustion turbine is utilized in the steam turbine generator during periods of low campus steam load, which increases the efficiency of this system. This type of system is called combined cycle electric power generation. The system will help provide electricity and steam for the Engineering Building – Oval and the Plant Sciences Building as well as establish part of the Smart Grid for Centennial Campus.

NC State utilizes energy performance contracting (EPC) to upgrade facilities and systems, avoid operational expenses and reduce emissions. The university currently has three EPCs and is taking ownership of a fourth EPC at the end of 2018. The four EPCs represent an investment of 8 million and a projected annual utility cost avoidance of .2 million. Each EPC is fully funded through energy savings generated by improved efficiency. Learn more

The University has a group on staff that retro commissions building units. The purpose of this effort is to verify that building mechanical and electrical systems are operating as specified and if not reset the systems for optimal performance. By completing these analyses unplanned repairs and maintenance of systems are reduced, as well as improved lab safety for personnel. Learn more

Centennial Campus is in the early stages of developing a smart grid to provide efficient energy and reliable systems that will also provide research opportunities for the University. The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center (FREEDM Center) located on Centennial Campus is researching and developing new technologies to encourage the use and adoption of smart grids.

Potential projects to support the smart grid on Centennial Campus are:

Combined Heat and Power Facility
Updated electrical distribution system
Direct Current (DC) electrical circuit
Enterprise Building Automation System

Controlling energy consumption on campus prevents excessive demand consumption and extends the useful life of the infrastructure systems. This increases the reliability of the electrical, heating and cooling systems.


Collaboration On Campus

There are numerous opportunities for NC State researchers to collaborate with NC State’s Energy Systems department. Faculty researchers can be key in bringing new technologies to campus. For example in 2019, several faculty members studied the feasibility of solar energy and storage on campus. In the future, this research could result in a large-scale solar installation at NC State.

Faculty and students are also able to use campus utility data for research purposes.

Request Utility Data