In an age where colleges and universities are increasingly forced to focus on the bottom line and cost cutting, campus administrators are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to optimize their budgets. In the search for cost savings, utility bills are a natural place to start. Large campus environments are inevitably heavy energy consumers, so any reduction can have a positive impact on budgets and the environment. Primera’s team of experts have been looking for energy and cost savings for college and university clients for years. There are hundreds of programs available to private institutions, but many find that they simply aren’t aware of what’s out there. Enter Primera. Through energy modeling, energy grant assistance, quality engineering and retro commissioning, we’ve saved our clients substantial amounts of money and helped them greatly reduce their impact on the environment.
In 2011, Primera conducted an energy analysis and identified a potential source of savings while evaluating a chilled water plant on a local university client’s campus, a plant that consisted of one 500-ton single stage absorption chiller serving three buildings: a six-story classroom building, a gymnasium and a lecture hall. The inherent inefficiency of the single stage absorption chiller caught our attention. As a result, Primera approached the university’s management team with their findings and made the recommendation that they replace the natural gas absorption chiller with a high efficiency modular electric chiller. The simple payback estimate ranged from five to eight years, depending on the cost of natural gas.
Trusting our expertise and experience, our client forged ahead with our recommendation. Primera was retained for the design of the new chiller and provided mechanical and electrical engineering, and commissioning services. In addition, we were successful in securing a $137,000 grant on behalf of the University from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) for innovative HVAC systems, which was utilized on the project.
Primera conducted a thorough analysis in the 12 months after the project’s completion and provided university management with a comprehensive financial validation assessment report outlining the savings of the first year, as well as anticipated future savings. The report highlighted net annual savings of more than $90,000 ($105,000 annual savings after weather normalization). The net savings were 14% above Primera’s design phase estimated savings goal of $78,700. View the full Financial Validation Assessment Report here.
For information on how Primera can help your university decrease energy consumption and reduce spending, contact Josh Greenfield.