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University of Denver turns up the heat on greenhouse gasses

Monday, June 22, 2009

New DU program cuts air conditioning use this summer to cut carbon emissions


DENVER – Things are about to heat up at the University of Denver (DU) this summer.

In a move to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, DU this summer is cutting back on air conditioning. Facilities management expects to boost the temperatures in centrally controlled buildings by about four degrees to an average room temperature of 76 degrees, says Tom McGee, DU’s energy engineer.

The program, similar to initiatives by the Denver city and the Colorado state governments, will help DU keep an estimated 162 tons of carbon dioxide out of the environment and save the University up to $40,000 this summer.

“We’re really just cutting back a little bit, but spread across the whole campus, it can make a significant difference,” McGee says.

McGee says air conditioners gobble up nearly 17 percent of U.S. electricity, and on hot summer days, they can account for as much as 43 percent of all U.S. peak power.

Craig Woody, vice chancellor for business and financial affairs and a member of the DU Sustainability Council, says the summertime changes reflect the University’s commitment to community and global efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we’re doing here will continue to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas inventory, and that’s important for the environment,” Woody says. “And when you cut back on air conditioning, you reduce consumption of kilowatt hours, and that translates into real dollar savings. Those savings can then be made available for more infrastructure improvements to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

To help faculty and staff members acclimate to the warmer buildings, the University is relaxing dress codes.

DU Chancellor Robert Coombe recently approved a plan developed by the Sustainability Council to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2007, Coombe signed on to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment on behalf of the University.


The University of Denver (, the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region, enrolls approximately 11,409 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Denver as a Research University with high research activity.

Contact:  Chase Squires

Phone: (303) 871-2660


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