Energy Management System

USC’s Energy Services, a unit within Facilities Management Services, is responsible for creating an energy efficient and environmentally responsible campus through the development and implementation of energy conservation protocols, programs, and projects. The overall goal of Energy Services is to ensure comfortable conditions in campus buildings while minimizing energy costs.  Through an overall Energy Management System (EMS), FMS uses computerized controls to optimize the performance of building heating and cooling systems.

Service activities include:

  • Effective maintenance of heating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment;
  • Daily scheduling of the HVAC systems within the buildings;
  • Efficient operation of energy-consuming equipment;
  • Monitoring and reporting on energy costs and usage patterns;
  • Billing for all campus utilities;
  • Trouble-shooting and maintenance of the energy monitoring infrastructure; operation and maintenance of the thermal energy storage system;
  • Lighting upgrade and retrofit projects;
  • Utility infrastructure projects;
  • Cost and service negotiations with utility providers;
  • and Strategic planning for USC's long-term energy needs.

One aspect of USC’s energy management programs has been to perform lighting retrofits for many campus buildings to reduce their energy use and make them more efficient.  In 2001, USC completed a university-wide lighting retrofit project of  74 buildings on the University Park Campus and 12 on the Health Sciences Campus.  Approximately 78,000 fixtures were retrofitted with T-8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts, and roughly 8,000 fixtures had their lamps removed entirely.  Occupancy sensors were also installed to reduce unnecessary energy use, and all of the incandescent exit signs were replaced with LEDs.  In total, the project reduced overall energy demand by 1.8 megawatts.

The project received energy efficiency rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to help defray the costs.  In the process, toxic light PCB light ballasts were removed during the retrofits and, with the help of the Safety Department, FMS disposed of over 32,000 ballasts in an environmentally secure manner.  This project helped develop a university lighting standard. 


Located 40 feet below Cromwell Field, a three million gallon thermal energy storage tank is filled with chilled water at night, when electric rates are lower, and used to cool buildings throughout the campus during the day. This eliminates the operation of chillers during times of high electric charges and combines low, off-peak energy costs with a no-maintenance, fully-buried Thermal Energy Storage tank.

The TES storage take has saved the university an estimated 4,500 megawatt-hours of electricity a year.  This equates to about $400,000 annual electricity cost savings.  Saving electricity reduces CO2 emissions  and operating the thermal energy storage tank is like taking over 615 cars off of the road every year.