Summer is upon us! The wildflowers are blooming and the (native) grasses are getting taller. As seasons change so does the way we use energy and water. Even though OSU strives to become a more efficient user of energy and water we still have a large footprint overall. In the winter, OSU uses lots of electricity and steam to power baseline needs like lights and computers and everything we plug into the wall as well as to heat the indoor environment. In the summer, we use less electricity and steam, but we use a lot more water to irrigate fields and to fuel chillers that cool buildings. Of course, in both seasons there are other variables that affect energy and water use, but the ones listed above are the most demanding.
Here is an example of energy and water use for a single campus building: Valley Library used 386,000 gallons of water in June of 2011, but only 208,000 gallons of water in January of 2012. Valley Library also used 499,000 lbs of steam in June of 2011 and 1,229,000 lbs of steam in January 2012. As for electricity, Valley Library used 366,000 kWh in June of 2011 and 355,000 kWh. Whether if we are using electricity, steam or water, it is all still considered energy. It takes energy to make electricity and steam and lots of energy to also make clean, potable water. It is important to mindful of energy and water use year round, rain or shine.