Thursday, December 04, 2008
40,000 Senegalis or My Building
The building I work in has a yearly energy bill of over $1,000,000 dollars a year. That translates to about 10 Million Kilowatt-Hours per year, the same as about 100 average American houses or 40,000 Senegalis. Granted, it is a big building, with a greenhouse on the roof, four elevators, large water dionization systems, lots of -80C freezers, class rooms, laboratories and offices. Still, that seems like a lot of electricity for one building. The building manager emailed everyone to ask if we had ideas for cutting that down some. I suggested getting a smaller autoclave. The building has three autoclaves, each big enough to park a Mini in. Hundreds of different people use these, each setting them to their own specifications, usually to autoclave one or two bottles or one tray of equipment. A machine with 1/100 of the internal volume would work for most of these jobs, and get it done faster. I emailed to suggest installing a smaller autoclave, and the building manager wrote back that, "buying and installing one would cost over $50,000, which is about $50,000 more than is available at the moment." I am sure he is right, still I can't help thinking that if we saved even 0.1% of the building's energy usage, the thing would pay for itself in five years. Different budget line though.