Wright State to cut campus energy consumption by nearly 40 percent

Photo of Wright State University's Dayton campus.

Wright State University's Dayton campus

Wright State plans to slash campus energy consumption by nearly 40 percent through energy efficiency investments that include applying state-of-the-art technology to modernize heating/cooling plants in buildings across its Dayton and Lake campuses.

The move promises to save the university $35.8 million over the next 15 years.

“This is a game-changer for us in terms of sustainability,” said Mark M. Polatajko, vice president for business and fiscal affairs and university treasurer. “It not only saves Wright State and taxpayers millions of dollars in energy costs, but also enables the university to dramatically reduce its long-term maintenance costs and positions us as a regional leader in energy conservation initiatives.”

The university intends to sign a $25.2 million contract with ABM Industries Inc. to implement energy efficiency measures through ABM’s Bundled Energy Services (BES) program. Principal strategies include:

  • Elimination of 30 major pieces of heating/cooling equipment that can be costly to maintain
  • Utilization of pressure-independent control values in an holistic-system approach to improve control accuracy and offer significant long-term savings
  • Retrofit of exterior light fixtures with LED and induction lighting, which offers lower energy consumption and longer equipment lifespans than conventional lighting
  • Use of energy-efficient geothermal cooling for the Wright State Nutter Center for year-round free cooling
  • Continuous improvement of efficiency standards by employing technology to enable data gathering for long-term sustainability

Polatajko said the new system will also save $225,000 a year in maintenance costs and pay for itself in 12.7 years.

“This is a result of the university focusing on fiscal and energy stewardship, while concurrently addressing current and future deferred maintenance needs in a strategic manner,” Polatajko said. “It addresses a significant component of both our capital and operating budgets in a truly innovative way.”

The New York-based ABM provides energy efficiency, commercial cleaning and maintenance, facility engineering, parking and security services for thousands of commercial, industrial, government and retail clients around the globe. The company had annual revenues of $4.3 billion in 2012 and employs nearly 100,000 workers. In Ohio alone, ABM employs more than 3,000 workers.

Polatajko said Wright State will be one of the first public universities in Ohio deploying these types of energy conservation measures on such a large scale, adding that the decision helps to offset dwindling state capital appropriations, which have historically been used for basic renovations.

“We’re being responsive, we’re being visionary, we’re being strategic,” Polatajko said. “And we’re being innovative by maintaining a sound capital infrastructure while utilizing the fullest potential of our resources.”

Gregory A. Hahn, general manager of ABM Building and Energy Solutions, (Dayton, Ohio), said ABM is proud to continue its relationship with Wright State, referring to the successful implementation of a Phase I Energy Conservation Project in 2010.

“This project is very comprehensive and serves as a tremendous example of the success we’ve seen with our BES program,” Hahn said. “It incorporates the innovative application of new and established energy saving technologies that will forever change the way the campus operates, while also guaranteeing savings that can be reallocated towards the school’s critical capital improvements. This is truly a win-win for Wright State.”

Implementation of the plan is slated to begin in February 2013, pending approval by the Wright State Board of Trustees on Feb. 15



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