Buildings & Energy

Programs and Initiatives

IU Energy Challenge

Back to top

 The purpose of the Energy Challenge is to instill conservation habits in participants. It rewards participants for making small behavior changes that, when performed collectively, can substantially decrease Indiana University’s environmental impact.

Each building competes against a usage baseline, an average of electricity and water usage for their building. Electricity usage carries twice the composite weight of water usage.  The combined water (33%) and electricity (66%) usage makes up the composite usage for each building.

Weekly, our utilities team records both the water and electricity usage of each building.  These recordings are compared to the buildings’ baselines.  The buildings that reduce their water and electricity usage by the highest percentage are crowned as winners of the Energy Challenge.

The following table displays the savings to date from the Energy Challenge over the past few years. It only includes estimates for the 3-4 week period that the challenges ran for and not the extended savings that occurred after the challenges ended.

Type of SavingsUnit Amount
Electricity (kW)3,501,986 kW
Water (gallons)8,227,001 gallons
Money (dollars)$210,119
Utilities Information Group

Back to top

  • Building Metering

  • Peak Load Program

  • Energy Dashboard Displays


Back to top

Indiana University is constantly assessing the economic feasibility of incorporating more renewable energy sources on campus. The following updates were completed in the Fall of 2012 and are subject to change as the economics and technological feasibility of each system progresses.

Geothermal - to replace the capacity of the Central Heating Plant and Central Chilled Water Plant with Geothermal wells, IU would require:

- 389,292,000 BTU's of heating capacity
- 21,627 wells, 300 feet deep, and 20 feet apart
- 198.6 acres or 150 football fields

Picture of a house with a geothermal system installed.

Wind - Wind turbines require an average of 13 mph winds and the Bloomington area averages 5 mph winds. If the wind farm was located in South Bend, the following would need to be installed:

 - 40 MW of capacity requiring 20 wind turbines
- 98.84 acres or 75 football fields

A graph depicting the average wind speeds in Southern Indiana and Northern Indiana.

Solar - to meet peak electric load on campus, IUB would need the following for the installation of photovoltaic panels:

-40 MW of capacity
- Covering every IU roof top would supply 17% of the needed capacity
- The remaining needs would require 55 acres or 42 football fields

A picture of a photovoltaic solar array on a house roof top.

Domestic Hot Water - to meet the domestic hot water demands of IUB, the campus would need:

- 529 MMBTU for one day of domestic hot water

- 458,539 square feet of panels required

- This would require 11 acres or 8 football fields

A picture of a domestic hot water solar system.


Back to top

IU Physical Plant has been working on numerous retrocommissioning projects in buildings on campus. These projects include installing energy efficient lights, thermostat upgrade work, replacing hot and chilled water valves, control changes to the HVAC system, and cleaning of ventilators. The following charts display the electricity savings upon completion of these projects.

Chart displaying electricity usage of Swain West.


Chart displaying electricity usage of Geological Sciences Building.


Chart displaying electricity usage of Kelley Undergraduate Business building.


Back to top

IU has started to improve the infrastructure of campus, which includes replacing steam and condensate pipes. This helps improve the overall efficiency of the system and thereby reduces heat loss and saves energy. Below is a table depicting the current projects under way and their pay-back periods.

Project  CostPayback Period

Condensate System Replacement

to U School Area

$500,0002.5 years
Fee Lane to RecSports$1,848,0007.6 years
Re-insulate Steam Manholes$75,000 5.0 years
Central Heating Plant to Law Lane$940,0007.3 years