PSC Takes Energy to the Next Level

Sustainability, Equity, Environment, Economics


In 2012, PSC underwent an energy audit and a retro-commissioning project with the goal of making its facilities operate more energy efficiently. PSC received the energy audit services through the Cook County Energy Efficiency Program and the retro-commissioning service through the Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC). These projects assisted the College to prioritize upgrades to reduce energy waste and improve occupant comfort. Read more about the value of retro-commissioning.

As a result, the college:

  • Completed a lighting upgrade resulting in a $65,000 annual savings.
  • Implemented several smaller projects to save energy including HVAC adjustments and boiler tune ups.
  • Identified a smaller lighting upgrade for 2013.
  • Implemented an automatic shutdown of computers to save energy when the campus is closed.

Faculty and staff at the college are encouraged to follow PSC's Energy Conservation Guidelines, which guide the operation of energy-using equipment at the college.

The Power To Save Energy Is In Our Hands

Prairie State College is one of four community colleges in the state participating in a pilot program to reduce energy usage through the implementation of energy monitoring and behavior change techniques.

In May 2013, Prairie State College installed an energy dashboard system in the Health/Tech Center to monitor gas and electric usage.

An additional component of the program includes the installation of smart power strips to automatically turn off all peripheral devices (printers, monitors, etc.) after 11 hours. The smart power strips also provide a one-touch option to power down devices upon leaving for the day, thus conserving additional energy between the hours of work ending and the automatic shutdown.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is conducting a research component for this program, which includes modeling of the Health Tech Center, monitoring energy usage and changes in the building, and conducting surveys to examine current energy attitudes and behaviors.

The Dashboard

View the Health/Tech Center’s real time energy
use by clicking The Dashboard  image below.
View the Health/Tech Center’s real time energy use by clicking The Dashboard  image.

What it is

It’s an energy management system that monitors real time energy usage (both gas and electric) for the Health Tech Center.

How it works

Energy is constantly being used to heat, cool, light and otherwise “power” the building. To monitor the energy being used, sub-meters were attached to the building’s natural gas line and electrical box. These sub-meters record the amount of gas and electricity being used to power the building.

What you see

The information from the sub-meters is displayed on a 47-inch monitor in the hallway of the Health/Tech Center. The information is also available by visiting the "Health Tech Center's Real Time Energy Use" page. Energy usage is shown in kilowatts (kW) for electricity and therms for gas.

Color PSC Green Challenge

April 7-25, 2014

The Challenge

It's back, but this time we're competing against community colleges across the state of Illinois! We need to reduce gas and electricity consumption in the Health Tech Center more than any other college competing in Illinois.

The Reward

National recognition, bragging rights and PSC will save money! Plus, we’ll all learn good habits and help to reduce PSCs carbon footprint.

The Competition

The competition will run for a three week, April 7-25 with a two-week baseline period prior to the competition start date.For more information on the program, visit Campus Conservation Nationals.

The ABCs of Winning

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving a room. It’s just as easy to turn them on as it is to turn them off.
  • Bundle up with layers instead of turning up the heat.
  • Close the door behind you when entering from outside. Wait to open the door for others until they are ready to enter.
  • Don’t forget to power down your computer when you are finished.

Automatic Computer Shut Down

Information Technology Resources began powering-down all campus computers as an energy-saving initiative in January 2013. A typical computer with monitor operates at between 20-40 watts in standby mode and accounts for approximately 25% of the PSC electrical energy demand. While this doesn't seem like much individually, in aggregate, it accounts for 40$ of the energy consumption after the College closes.

ITR and the Sustainability Center will be monitoring energy savings due to this shut down.

You Can Help PSC Save Energy

Faculty and staff at the college are encouraged to follow PSC's Energy Conservation Guidelines which guide the operation of energy-using equipment at the college.

Learn more about how you can help conserve energy at PSC.

Questions or suggestions about how to improve energy efficiency at PSC? Contact the Sustainability Center.