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Physical Plant Sustainability and Energy Conservation


The University of South Florida has had an active recycling program since 1994 and currently recycles the following items:

  • Mixed paper (office paper, newspaper, magazines, cardboard)
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass and plastics
  • Mixed metals
  • Yard debris, tree limbs and wooden waste
  • Fluorescent bulbs and fixture ballasts
  • Electronic equipment

Since inception, USF has recycled over 7100 tons of paper, and has recycled over 48 tons of aluminum. In conjunction with the City of Tampa, USF operates a Community Recycling Site located on USF Sycamore Drive.

Energy Conservation

Green Lights Program
As part of the Green Lights Program, the University of South Florida has upgraded the lighting systems throughout the Tampa campus academic buildings with modern, high efficient electronic ballasts and energy conserving fluorescent bulbs. This program currently saves over $1 million annually, and over 11 million kilowatt-hours annually. This project was performed and completed a few years ago.

Conversion to F28 Flourescent Lamps
This initiative is currently underway and is designed to replace F32 (32-watt) lamps with F28 (28-watt) lamps.

Motion Sensors
Tampa campus classrooms have been retrofitted with electronic motion sensors that turn off the lights when classrooms are not in use.

Energy Monitoring
A comprehensive energy metering and monitoring system has been installed to track and help optimize energy usage at Tampa campus buildings.

Environmental Controls
Many of the Tampa campus buildings have been retrofitted with Direct Digital Control Systems that optimize the usage of air conditioning systems.

Building Optimization
Air handling units are typically the largest energy consuming equipment in our facilities. Reducing waste by operating them in a scaled down mode when the facilities are unoccupied offer one of the major energy and cost saving opportunities. To accomplish this, the University has implemented and developed a computerized energy management system. This system uses the University's fiber backbone network. Hence the cost to implement this was very small.

Solar Efficient Roofs
Many of the Tampa campus buildings have been retrofitted with High Solar Reflective Index roofing materials. This reduces building heat load and cooling energy usage.

High Efficiency Chillers
The USF Tampa campus has replaced inefficient gas and electric operated chillers with the most energy efficient electric chillers available.

Boiler Efficiency
The USF Tampa campus has replaced old, inefficient boilers with new high efficiency boilers in order to reduce natural gas usages.

Heat Pipes
Environmental systems at the MDF, MDH, and BSF buildings are equipped with heat pipe energy recovery systems to reduce energy usage.

Improvement in Efficiency of Campus Pumping of Chilled Water and Chiller Performance
This current initiative involves converting chilled water distribution system from primary/secondary pumping to variable primary pumping to increase temperature difference between supply and return chilled water in order to improve chiller performance.

Underground Utilities
Tampa campus design standards have been updated to have high efficiency insulation on all underground chilled water and hot water distribution piping.

Competitive Purchase of Natural Gas
Following the deregulation of utilities we have initiated a natural gas purchase program in the new competitive marketplace. By using this competitive strategy the University has saved over $9 million since inception of this project.

Water Conservation

Many of the Tampa campus buildings have been retrofitted with motion sensing automatic faucets and flush valves. This helps prevent waste and conserves water usage.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Keeping Florida's waterbodies clean is essential to a healthy environment. USF has taken aggressive steps to minimize the impact to the Florida's waterbodies.


*For more information on USF Sustainability Initiatives, visit Facilities Planning and Construction.