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A University's Energy-Saving Efforts: Sustainability with an Impact

 

Energy efficiency: it’s a common concept, but how do you really make it work within an organization — and especially when the constituents are busy college students?
 
The efforts of one U.S. university’s sustainability department to reduce energy costs not only have extended the organization’s limited budget, but also provided compelling stats that the university has routinely shared with students to keep them apprised of how the university is putting campus buildings to work.

 

With a campus of approximately 80 buildings and more than five million square feet of property, the university’s facility operations group had the tough task of reducing costs following budget cuts in 2009. However, since that time, the team has managed to save $1.6 million using rebates, and has consistently shared the success stories with the college's 15,000 students to make them aware of the sustainability efforts.

 

The university’s major energy reduction projects over the last seven years have included:

  • Migration and standardization of heating and cooling controls, one building at a time
  • Installation of solar panels and window film
  • Implementation of a rebate tracking system for its gas and electric utility providers

Recently, the facilities group further enhanced its energy reduction program with an analytics system that includes insights from Honeywell’s energy and automation experts. The team works directly with university to help inform energy-efficient and money-saving business decisions. This includes providing baseline awareness of building performance, making improvements related to energy and operations, and defining an ongoing strategy to manage and optimize the campus building. In total, these efforts have already saved the university $26,000.