Energy Project aims to improve campus sustainability

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The replacement of the air handlers in the west side of McClain Hall is continuing through unexpected weather changes, and the replacement is just the beginning of a campus-wide project which aims to boost Truman State’s physical and human resources.

Physical Plant Director Karl Schneider says to avoid inconveniencing people using the building, those in charge of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Project found the most convenient timing to start the replacement of air handlers in the west side of McClain. The work started Oct. 12 and will last until Nov. 6. The project is attempting to achieve campus-wide replacement of facilities in the library and other buildings.  

Making Adjustments

Tim O’Kane, Energy Solutions Professionals’ marketing director, says this is the second largest project ever taken on by ESP — the contractor for the project — the largest was a $26.5 million project with the University of Kansas.

Bob Miller, ESP’s vice president of operations, says updating energy efficiency on university and college campuses creates an atypical work situation. He says different buildings present different challenges in terms of work schedules.

“When it’s time to get in turn wrenches and swing hammers, you have to take in consideration in terms of not getting in the way,” Miller says.

Donna Liss, chief information officer and chair of the sustainability action committee for Truman, says those working and teaching in campus buildings might feel forced to adjust with the new systems. One new aspect of the air control systems in buildings is the complete regulation of temperature. Liss says once the project is done, each building will be set to a certain temperature, and individuals will not be able to modify it for their personal tastes.

“The building works as a single large environment,” Liss says. “So, if you can have one person who starts to tweak something, then it can actually affect other things around the building … Before [building residents] could adjust the thermostats, now they’ll have to layer or wear a sweater. So, I think that will take some adjustment for people, but I think over time we will figure it out.”

Sustainability as a Whole

The project aims to achieve more than just physical sustainability. It includes three main components which aim not only at carbon emission, water, and electricity savings, but also the quality of campus life. Liss emphasizes the importance for people to be aware of the meaning of the project as a whole.

“When we look at environmental factor — that is part of sustainability — that’s only one third of what we are looking at,” Liss says. “The other is that you are actually being good to your people, so you are actually creating a good environment. It’s a good campus climate … The third part is managing your resources well, so that is the financial component.”

Patience During the Process

During the project, contract workers have been and will continue to work around classrooms and offices, Schneider says. He says unforeseen events, such as rain leakage in McClain during the air vent exchanges, could affect building residents.

“We had some rain leaks yesterday while the contractor was working, when the rain came in and they weren’t paying enough attention to the weather,” Schneider says. “So that’s one of the things that happens, contractors make mistakes, weather causes problems.”

Once the project is finished, the upgrades will last at least two decades because the technology allows for software updates, instead of replacing the entire system again, Schneider says. He says although energy efficient technology always continues to change and improve, it doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced every time an improvement comes out.

“We’re expecting to use these systems 20 to 30 years, maybe 15 to 20 years, at least,” Schneider says. “The control systems are computerized systems, so software upgrades for those will be done as necessarily, probably for over period of five year increments or something like that.”[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Climate change protest brings call to action » Truman Media Network

Comments are closed.