Energy Saving Performance Contract to save $17.1 million, update 28 buildings

Chelsey Fisher

The university Physical Plant is in the process of readying their second Energy Saving Performance Contract, which plans to save $17.1 million in energy costs over 12 years.

The new 12-year program will address 28 buildings and save an estimated 9 million to 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

Physical Plant Director Mike O’Conner said the 2008-10 Pepco ESPC looked at eight buildings and reduced campus energy by 30 percent.

Pepco, an energy services company, is performing an investment grade audit and will report back a final number on energy savings, O’Connor said.

“Their job is to go in and say if we change the light bulbs in the building, how much money will that save, and then how much will it cost,” O’Connor said. “Their goal is to find a balance of energy and then to use those savings to pay for the new types of technology.”

O’Connor also said that it had to be “self-supporting,” meaning that whatever savings are made from the changes, will go into paying the investment of the contract. Pepco’s guarantee is that if it costs more than it saves, they will pay the difference.

Energy Manager Jerry Marshall said students will notice an “improved comfort for classrooms” once they start making changes.

“We’re going to replace the heating and air system with direct digital controls so it can be set from anywhere,” Marshall said. “In the [current] manual system, it rarely gets turned off or down. With direct controls, we can schedule it to turn down or off when there’s no one in the building or it is not being used.”

They also plan to install a geothermal heating and air system to Chancellor Peacock’s home. Which means the hot air and cold air will come “from the earth.”

Sustainability Specialist Crystal Simmons said she was “excited, to the point of being giddy” about the possibility of “greening” the Chancellor’s home.

“In the face of climate change, energy efficiency is important now more than ever,” Simmons said. “ASU has committed to climate neutrality by 2050. Because Energy Saving Performance Contracts target energy efficiency, they allow quick, large gains in energy usage decrease reducing greenhouse gas emissions instantly.”

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, News Reporter