SouthFace’s Focus On Campus Smaller Buildings Impacts Sustainability and Savings

BlogIn today’s challenging economic climate, where every penny counts, higher education financial officers and key decision makers dedicate significant time and resources to identify new and innovative funding sources.

Many schools are struggling with their bottom line as national enrollment falls, many Americans question the value of a college degree and state funding for many public institutions is drying upWall Street Journal

Ironically a business solution that would produce significant cost savings, which would fall directly to the bottom-line, is in clear sight on every college campus but overlooked. Smaller Buildings.

According to Southface, a nonprofit organization supporting sustainability through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance, almost $2 billion is annually spent on college campus utility costs. Of that $2 billion dollars approximately  “30% of energy entering campus buildings is wasted due to inefficient building systems, inadequate building operations and wasteful occupant behavior. “

Think about it. If higher education could institute efficient energy cost saving programs money could be reinvested in the school. In addition, the institution’s carbon footprint would be reduced while also taking into consideration the means of responding to fluctuating energy and water pricing.

Typically, sustainability programs at higher education institutions focused on larger buildings where most energy is consumed. However, Southface makes a compelling case that untapped energy savings from smaller buildings have historically been overlooked when developing sustainability initiatives. Take a look around your campus; how many possible energy management strategies have been overlooked?

The leadership at TUFF is excited about the two pioneering reference guides Southface has developed: Targeting Savings Opportunities on Your Campus and a Sub-metering guide.

The guides provide an understandable roadmap on how to access campus energy and water performance and implement the 7 step process.  General information and case studies of some of Atlanta’s institutions including GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institution), Georgia Tech and Spelman College are also included.

We are honored that Vic Clements, Manager of Administration at TUFF, was quoted in the document regarding the $123,000 annual savings on electricity and water costs that Georgia Tech’s Technology Square Research Building has achieved on completion of its retrofit efforts.

As you can tell the following seven step benchmarking process can easily be customized to support the needs and resources of your institution. In addition, the process will help colleges and universities achieve the 20% energy and water reduction goals set from the U.S. Department of Energy, Better Building Challenge and programs such as STARS and the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

7 Step Energy Management Process

  1. Planning – Determine your campus’ energy and water conservation goals and establish a baseline year.
  2. Benchmark – Track and compare energy and water data to see how your buildings stack up.
  3. Identify Underperforming Buildings – Find which buildings are using the most energy and water.
  4. Perform Energy Assessments – Conduct assessments to prioritize energy and water improvements.
  5. Implementation – Plan, budget and identify funding resources to implement the energy and water improvements.
  6. Tacking & Reporting – Monitor post-implementation performance to verify operational success.
  7. Recognition – Find the network and recognition program that aligns with your organizations goals.

New disruptive models of energy management, such as Southface’s Campus Benchmarking Guide can lead to improved sustainability, lower energy and water costs and finances that can be reallocated back to the institution. We call that a triple win![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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