News Release: Sustainability, University News

Jul. 28,  2010

Emory Invests in Facilities Improvements to Reduce Energy, Water Consumption

News Article ImageThe initial phase involves installing energy efficient building systems and making other improvements to five campus buildings, including the Whitehead Research building (above).

Emory University has engaged Siemens Industry, Inc., to retrofit campus buildings in order to improve their energy efficiency and decrease water consumption. Phase 1 of the project includes five campus buildings and highlights Emory's commitment to sustainability, to its green building practices, and its overall goal to reduce energy use 25 percent per square foot by 2015 from 2005 levels.

The energy reduction component of Emory's sustainability vision is supported by the university's Utility Reduction and Energy Conservation Plan (URECA) and represents a major step forward toward achieving the overall energy reduction goal.

"An in-depth energy and utility study was conducted to identify the most effective course of action to achieve reduction goals for all campus buildings," says Steven Thweatt, associate vice president of planning, design and construction at Emory. The study began in late October 2007 and outlined a phased approach to address the energy and resource efficiency of campus buildings.

"Siemens comprehensively examined how Emory could reduce its energy and water consumption, while maintaining or improving the comfort level for building occupants," adds Thweatt. "Based on that analysis, a phased implementation was recommended."

The initial phase involves installing energy efficient building systems and making other improvements to five campus buildings: the Woodruff Physical Education building; the Woodruff Library; the 1525 Clifton Road building; the Rollins School of Public Health building; and the Whitehead Research building. Together, the five buildings represent more than 1.1 million square feet of space on Emory's campus. Installation of the improvements has begun and is expected to be completed in February 2011.

"The $4.8 million performance based energy services contract with Siemens represents an investment in Emory's facilities that we will recoup through utility savings within seven years," says Michael Mandl, executive vice president of Emory. "The significant reduction in energy and water consumption over the life of these buildings, coupled with the financial savings, aligns this project with Emory's energy reduction initiatives. We are exploring a second phase of this program on campus that will include The Emory Clinic."

The project will achieve the energy and water savings through a variety of system upgrades specific to each building. Among the measures now being implemented: lighting retrofits with more energy efficient technology; replacement of plumbing fixtures with newer, water conserving models; building envelope repairs to windows and doors to reduce the leakage and infiltration of unconditioned air; and addition of new technology to improve the efficiency of air movement within buildings.

According to Jim Williams, area manager for Siemens, "Emory has long been recognized as a leader in sustainability practices and facilities management. This project is a reflection of the university's progressive approach to reducing energy and resource consumption while improving building interior environments for students and faculty. By working together with Emory, our team applied a systematic auditing process to identify upgrades and retrofits that provide the best return on investment while achieving their goals."

The system improvements will support the objectives of Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives, including the goals to decrease water consumption and energy use. Based on estimates, Phase one of the URECA project will reduce Emory's carbon dioxide emissions by 18,350,028 pounds per year; reduce its total nitrogen oxide emissions by 27,260 pounds per year; and reduce its total sulfur dioxide emissions by 94,410 pounds per year.

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