LU Facilities
Finance & Administration

Energy and Water Conservation

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Energy and Water Conservation Programs

Lehigh is taking meaningful actions to mitigate global climate change while also preparing our campuses and the surrounding community to adapt and respond to its potential effects.  The University continues to establish ambitious but achievable goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation and sourcing renewable energy.  Lehigh is also making strides to reduce water usage via water conservation measures.  See below for brief descriptions of the latest progress that LU Facilities has made toward these goals.

HVAC System Retrofits

Facilities has reduced energy usage (and greenhouse gas emissions) with several different types of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) projects.  Older chillers were replaced with more energy-efficient models at Alumni Memorial Building and Zoellner Arts Center on the Asa Packer Campus.  Older fixed-speed air-handling fan motors were replaced with new variable-speed models.  This is often done in conjunction with replacing pneumatically-controlled HVAC control systems with direct-digital-control (DDC) systems.  During 2018, these types of projects occurred at Maginnes Hall and Zoellner Arts Center on the Asa Packer Campus and several buildings on the Mountaintop Campus: Iacocca Hall (Building A), Jordan Hall (Building F), Imbt Laboratories (Building H), and Building J.

During 2018, LU Facilities also worked with Siemens to reprogram some HVAC control strategies used in laboratories at the STEPS building.  These changes were aimed at reducing energy while improving occupant comfort and maintaining consistent indoor air quality.  The strategies included reducing the number of air changes per hour and fume hood face velocities, and setting-back space temperatures when rooms are unoccupied.  A similar project was performed at the Mudd Laboratory and Neville Hall in 2021 and 2022.  In 2022 and 2023,  similar projects are underway at the Zoellner Arts Center and Linderman Library.

The energy recovery systems in STEPS were not working properly.  In 2020 the former technology of heat wheels was replaced with a different technology known as heat pipes.

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Installations and Lighting Controls

Lehigh, like many other institutions, has been reducing energy usage (and greenhouse gas emissions) by replacing fluorescent light fixtures, bulbs, and ballasts with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures, bulbs, and drivers.  This has been occurring for several years and it will continue for several more years.  Since 2018, the following buildings were completely retrofitted with LEDs:

  • Mudd Building

  • Neville Hall

  • Central Heating and Cooling Plant for Asa Packer Campus

  • Central Heating and Cooling Plant for Mountaintop Campus

  • Mountaintop Electrical Substation

  • Alumni Parking Garage

  • Farrington Square Parking Garage

  • Zoellner Parking Garage

  • Whitaker Laboratory

  • Sherman-Fairchild Center for Physical Sciences

  • Sherman Fairchild Laboratory

  • Taylor Gym

  • Grace Hall

  • Linderman Library

  • Stabler Arena

  • Zoellner Arts Center
  • Sinclair Laboratory
  • Lamberton Hall
  • Rauch Field House
  • Imbt Laboratories
  • EWFM Library and Computing Center
  • Sayre Park Street Lights
  • Alumni Memorial Building
  • Maginnes Hall

  • Packard Laboratory

  • Rauch Business Center

  • STEPS Building

  • Coppee Hall

  • Drown Hall

  • Fritz Laboratory

For some projects lighting controls are also installed, such as wireless switches, occupancy and vacancy sensors, or photoelectric (daylight) sensors. 

Water Conservation

In summer 2021, LU Facilities replaced higher-flow water fixtures with lower-flow water fixtures in two residence halls (M&M and Dravo) and two academic buildings (Iacocca Hall and Imbt Laboratory).  This included many faucets, toilets, urinals, and showerheads in each building.  This was the first step of a multi-year effort aimed at reducing university-wide water usage by 10% by 2025 from a FY 2019 baseline.  In summer 2022, the same type of work was completed in another residence hall (Taylor House) and four academic buildings (EWFM Library, Mudd, Packard Lab, and Whitaker Lab).  In summer 2023, the same type of work was completed in four more residence halls (Centennial II, Farrington Square, Packer House and 230 W Packer Ave) and four academic buildings (Alumni Memorial Building, Neville Hall, Maginnes Hall and Rathbone Hall).

For additional information on ways to reach these goals, please visit the Sustainability website.