University of Central Missouri
Case Study sponsored by: Trane
Trane upgrades guarantee more than $735,000 in annual savings Case Study by Trane
In the spring of 2009, the University of Central Missouri (UCM) embarked on a $36.1 million energy savings contract (ESCO) with Trane. The ESCO addressed $20 million in needed but deferred maintenance, and $16.1 million in energy-efficient upgrades on the campus. Construction was scheduled to last through the spring of 2011, but the project was completed in the fall of 2010, six months ahead of schedule. By June of 2010, 100 percent of the lighting retrofits were complete and the geothermal heating/ cooling system was fully operational. These projects have already generated $500,000 in energy and operating cost savings before project completion.
The University of Central Missouri offers 150 study programs on a beautiful campus serving more than 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students from 40 states and more than 50 countries. Founded as a teacher’s college in 1871, UCM has maintained a commitment to excellent teaching. UCM has 437 full-time faculty members, 68 percent with a PhD or other terminal degree. The student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1 and the average undergraduate class has 22 students. UCM’s six-month job placement rate for undergrads is 94 percent. Graduating students also benefit from one of the lowest student debt ratios in the state. (Photos courtesy of UCM Photo Services.)
The University of Central Missouri campus was facing approximately $20 million in priority deferred maintenance costs—with an annual budget of only $2 million available. “Some of the equipment and facilities on campus hadn’t been touched in anywhere from 20 to 80 years,” said Dr. Betty Roberts, UCM Vice President for Administration and Finance. “Some of the equipment was so old we were forced to stockpile spare parts. We had a 10-year plan, but with only $2 million annually we could never catch up. Complaints from students and faculty were rampant!
“We started talking to various ESCOs (energy service companies) about our problems, but their solutions were what I called ‘bleeding edge’—not ‘leading edge.’”
“We were spending so much money on reactive emergency projects—a generator went out or a boiler went out—and I began to assess how much how much labor was being put into those efforts cost. We had not received any funding from the state for capital appropriations in at least 10 years. So it was: how do I make a change for the benefit of the institution—the students, the faculty, and the staff—and create a positive learning environment with no money?”
No less important to UCM’s goals is the fact that a 2008 Princeton Review survey showed that 63 percent of college applicants are looking for a green campus. And, according to the “Greening America’s Schools” report, test scores improve by as much as 5 percent among students in a high-performance classroom.
Dr. Roberts adds, “I realized that the status quo would simply perpetuate the issues. Then I was introduced to Chad Remboldt, Education Consultant at Trane in Kansas City. He started talking about our issues, instead of ongoing repairs.”
In addition to student and faculty complaints, impetus for a campus-wide systems upgrade came from the fact that UCM was a signatory to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. With that and the support of the UCM President and the Board of Governors, plus organizations like Second Nature and the Clinton Climate Initiative, and a Missouri State statute that allowed UCM to initiate an ESCO performance contract project, Dr. Roberts began the effort to upgrade the campus. The supplier selection process was open to Missouri state prequalified ESCOs to submit a proposal.
Trane representatives inspected every building and system on campus to develop a solid, all-encompassing proposal for UCM. The
Trane proposal included the following:
- Installation of 150 geothermal wells for high efficiency heating and cooling of three main buildings on the UCM campus
- Energy conservation measures, including new windows and roofs on some buildings
- Installation of high-efficiency lighting throughout the campus
- Replacement of the outdated, unsightly power plant and boiler system with a green, sustainable geothermal heat pump system
- Improved air handling systems and acoustical improvements
- Laboratory air systems and controls
- Life safety measures
- A campus-wide building automation system to effectively manage energy use. An innovative feature of the Trane package includes “green screens” throughout the campus to educate the faculty, students and the community on the university’s sustainability initiatives—and learn what they can do to make a difference and get involved in efforts toward becoming a carbon-neutral campus.