Energy – From Savings to Solar

Campus Facilities Management’s efforts reduce energy and costs

The goal of the UMKC Campus Facilities Management department during the past 10 years: to reduce energy use and costs across campus. Based on the work of a dedicated team, they have done just that.

From performance contracting that included retrofits to current systems, to replacing lighting with newer LED’s, to the installation of photovoltaic solar arrays – or solar panels – UMKC has been able to control and sometimes even reduce its energy usage, even while adding new buildings to the UMKC campus footprint.

“The efforts within CFM provide opportunities for engagement at many levels. They include large partnership efforts like the KCMO Kansas City Energy Project and solar array projects with Kansas City Power & Light, and individual efforts like making personal commitments to the UMKC Voluntary Energy Campaign,” said Robert Simmons, associate vice chancellor – Administration. “I am most proud of individual suggestions that have been brought forward about electric metering, lighting or temperature control proposals for specific buildings that provide very fast payback for small investments.”

Creating energy saving projects has allowed the CFM staff to better control heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and lighting on campus. Since the projects significantly reduced the cooling load at the Central Cooling Plant, UMKC has been able to add approximately 110,000 square feet of new building space, without having to enlarge or replace the chilled water loop already in use.

At the same time, these projects lowered the peak electricity demand on the Central Cooling Plant from 2,719 kilowatts (kW) in 2012, to 2,635 kW in 2013, and then to 2,440 kW today. This allows UMKC to cool more space with better controls for less money. The achievement of 2,440 kW is the lowest peak demand since the plant was installed in 2008.

Along the same lines, UMKC has significantly increased utility savings on each building where energy projects have been completed. A recent review of energy use at the UMKC School of Dentistry with utility provider Kansas City Power and Light, for example, resulted in an energy rate change that lowered costs by $33,000 annually at this location.

Recently, UMKC added its third solar array on the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. The 25 kW project was funded through rebates and energy savings. The solar panels are from Ten K, a Midwest manufacturer, with panels that produce more energy over the lifetime of the equipment than more traditional solar array panels. The panels are guaranteed for 25 years, with total energy savings based on energy reduction estimated at $260,000 over that period.

Solar panels previously were added to Flarsheim Hall and the Student Union.

This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided training for CFM staff members on the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool. The team is benchmarking approximately six buildings and rating energy usage by utilizing this tool.

As a community partner with the Kansas City Energy Project (CEP),* UMKC has representatives on the CEP advisory group and is part of a group of organizations that are CEP Benchmarking Early Adopters of energy consumption and savings projects and programs in the region.

There are ways you can help save energy when you are on campus. Visit the UMKC Sustainability website’s Voluntary Energy Campaign where you can make an energy saving pledge.

*Kansas City is one of 10 cities nationwide selected to participate in the City Energy Project, a 3-year initiative by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) to promote energy efficiency improvements in large commercial and institutional buildings. In addition to Kansas City, the other participating cities are Orlando, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.


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