Aging infrastructure, rising energy costs and reduced budgets are major issues affecting higher education. This is compounded with shrinking funding and resources that are dispersed to growing student populations. All of these factors greatly impact facility managers and their day-to-day priorities. Facility managers are becoming more focused on energy efficiency given its potential to reduce overall energy and operational costs.
University buildings consume an enormous amount of energy. Harvard reports that 98% of their emissions are associated with heating and cooling of their more than seven hundred buildings. A recent article showed that even new buildings at Emory increased energy usage by 5% per year. Thus, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings has become a top priority.
With the majority of today’s higher education buildings expected to serve students for the next several decades, it’s more important than ever for higher education facility managers to understand how to most effectively manage aging infrastructure. 59 percent of higher education facility managers surveyed stated that the average age of their buildings was 15 years or older. There are tremendous opportunities that exist for improving energy management in terms of software, infrastructure modifications and leveraging government programs.
Higher Education has been a leader in sustainability including green building initiatives. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) reports that the number of registered projects in higher education increase exponentially over the last few years, with nearly 300 projects that are LEED certified and 1,700 more pursuing certification.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating SystemTM (STARS) is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for helping colleges and universities track and measure their sustainability progress developed by AASHE. This has also seen broad participation from a broad section of the higher education community with more than 560 schools participating.
Reduce Operating Expenses
Commissioning is a best practice central to these sustainability initiatives. Reduced operating expenses are perhaps the most important benefit associated with commissioning. Building owners report that their building efficiency improved 5%–20% through retrocommissioning work, but recommissioning or retrocommissioning are done at most every three to five years. Thus, wasted energy compounds and potential savings are deferred for years.
Continuous Commissioning™ introduced the idea that commissioning and energy management work should be ongoing to drive greater savings. However, the volume of information, the complexity of equipment and ongoing operational demands make this difficult to do. Monitoring based Commissioning (MBCx) builds off the concept of continuous commissioning, but uses automation to deal with the complexity. As a result, MBCx allows you to realize savings in months rather than years since work is ongoing.
FacilityConneX is an Enterprise-level intelligent monitoring and knowledge action system designed to bring smart asset monitoring, advanced predictive intelligence, continuous management and energy savings; all available in a secure hosted Cloud environment with online and mobile visibility. This allows university facility managers to:
- Monitor your equipment and thousands of fault detection scenarios.
- View the entire portfolio of buildings online and on mobile to ensure that people have the right information at the right time.
- Use our advanced analytics to prioritize the work needed to minimize energy consumption and meet occupant needs.