SPC finding ways to further reduce energy costs
St. Petersburg College is redoubling its efforts to reduce energy costs in the face of tighter budgets and the increasing cost of electricity and other energy sources.
The college has come up with a plan to tighten its energy belt, a plan contained in “SPC’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, put together by Jim Waechter and Diana Wright of Facilities Planning & Institutional Services.
The plan offers strategies for reducing costs, investing in the future, becoming more efficient, and reducing the college’s overall carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption. It begins with a look at the college’s base year energy costs for 2007-08.
In 2008, SPC maintained facilities totaling 2,319,848 square feet of space, a number that now is up to 2,473,877 square feet for the 2008-09 fiscal year. During the 2007-08 fiscal year, the college consumed 178,248,034 kBtus of energy at a cost of $4,951,044. Most of that cost, $4,083,235, was spent on electricity.
According to Wright, a typical building consumes 53 percent of its energy costs in heating and air conditioning. Office equipment consumes another 20 percent, while lighting is responsible for 17 percent.
By instituting a number of cost-saving steps, the college is showing a five percent decrease in consumption per gross square foot so far in 2009 as compared to 2008 – a significant saving that equates to $356,919.
But the report shows a number of areas throughout the college that are ripe for improvement. They include:
- Antiquated and inefficient air handlers
- Antiquated pneumatic control systems
- Air compressor leaks
- Computers, printers and other equipment left on all night
- Personal space heaters, lamps, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots and oscillating fans
- Over-lit halls, and decorative lighting left on all night
A number of energy-saving projects are now under way, including lighting upgrades, upgraded exit signs, occupancy sensors, temperature setbacks and changes, new heat recovery chillers, and changes to more efficient electric motors.
“There is opportunity for further savings, but some investment is required,” Wright said. “For example, upgrading to more efficient lighting is estimated to cost $133,700. But the payback time is estimated at 1.6 years, and the cost savings is estimated to total $81,526 per year.”
Future energy savings are projected to save $455,319, or 9 percent, and should pay back in 2.3 years. They include:
- Conversion of pneumatic to electric systems
- Conversion of constant air systems to variable volume, with variable frequency drives
- Software that will shut down computers at night
- Optimization of controls
- Integration of occupancy sensors
- Installation of daylight sensors
- Smart power strips for printer/scanner rooms
- Upgrades for outdoor lighting