The Virginia Tech community has surpassed Blackout!/Download! Goal 13 consecutive years VTX


For the 13th year in a row, Virginia Tech hosts its annual Power Down! An event hosted by the Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities Department.

On June 23, members of the university’s Blacksburg campus gathered to collectively reduce their energy use for 90 minutes to test their ability to reduce power outages if needed.

By using complex building automation systems, turning off certain lights and unplugging non-critical electronics, among other things, the university has reduced its Blacksburg campus electricity needs to an average of 17,400 kilowatts. The demand goal for this year’s pilot event was 17,500 kilowatts. The highest energy consumption on that day – before the event – was marked by 26,500 kilowatts.

“The university community has reduced their total electricity demand by more than 9,000 kilowatts. The typical household, for example, saves an average of less than 3 kilowatts of energy,” said Campus Energy Manager Steve Durfee. It demonstrates the university community’s commitment to adaptability and sustainability.

Power down! The incident is part of the Interruptible Load Reliability Power Reduction Program. The program is part of Virginia Tech’s agreement with PJM Interconnection – the operator of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s regional electric transmission grid – and the Virginia Department of Energy, which is managed by CPWOR.

As a large user and producer of electricity in the region, Virginia Tech’s participation in the Interrupted Load Reliability Program helps reduce energy losses in the local community during peak energy use periods such as hot and humid summer afternoons. Power down! The event will allow the university to test its ability to reduce energy consumption to accommodate the redistributed energy needed to support the community if needed.

Also, lights out this year!/Lower Power! Event, the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities partnered with Hockey Wellness and Rec Sports to offer outdoor wellness activities to encourage time away, both literally and figuratively. Events include group walking, yoga and mindfulness meditation.

Power down! The event is an annual opportunity for Virginia Tech students and staff to consider how their energy consumption affects their immediate communities and the Earth.

The university continues its efforts to become a carbon neutral and 100 percent renewable electricity campus by 2030. Learn more about Virginia Tech’s commitment to climate action online.





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