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DSCC upgrades efficiency, cuts energy consumption

DSCC upgrades efficiency, cuts energy consumption

Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 6:20 pm

The Messenger 02.01.12

When you walk onto any of the Dyersburg State Community College locations, you would not notice the many changes that have been taking place to upgrade the college’s energy efficiency and reduce its energy consumption.
Some of the changes are in the buildings, some are in its business operations and some are in the way the faculty and staff work. All work together to reduce the college’s utility bills.
In 2009, DSCC’s president’s staff set the course for college-wide energy efficiency by choosing to dedicate funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the project.
As a result, the college began aggressively implementing the energy saving recommendations provided by Energy System Group (ESG).
ESG was hired by the Tennessee Board of Regents — DSCC’s governing body — to prepare a detailed energy study. The study provided a list of 10 major energy cost-savings measures that included recommendations for physical plant improvements, water conservation measures and appliance changes.
To date, six of the 10 recommendations have been completed. These include refrigerant flow improvement in DX cooling equipment and replacing the chillers, part of the heating and air conditioning system, in the Dale F. Glover Education Building, the E.H. Lannom Jr. Gym-nasium, the E.B. Eller Ad-ministration Building and the Academic Building at the DSCC Jimmy Naifeh Center at Tipton County.
The college also replaced the rooftop air conditioning unit serving the Lannom Gymnasium’s front lobby and replaced the 15-ton condensing unit in the gymnasium’s music and band room. In addition, the college is also removing and/or replacing oversized or no longer needed HVAC equipment.
“We started working through the list, completing the projects that would make the greatest impact on our utility expenses for the least cost to the college. We used stimulus funds to pay for some of the more costly changes, and included other changes while doing building renovations,” said Kent Jetton, DSCC physical plant director.
At the direction of DSCC’s president’s staff, the college will begin implementing the most expensive, but most potentially beneficial, recommendation this spring — retrofitting and replacing the remaining older lighting fixtures at all its locations. The lighting replacement project will cost $250,000 and will be paid from college plant funds. Based on energy analysis that projects the savings in utility costs, the college expects to recoup the investment in the lighting upgrade in five years.
OGCB Consulting Engi-neers of Memphis will be overseeing the project for DSCC. The company, which has also worked with Rhodes College and Sewanee on similar projects, will conduct an energy analysis that “looks at every aspect of every building,” said project coordinator Michael “Chip” Svoboda.
“We will recommend energy applications that make sense,” he said.
While making changes to the physical plant, the college worked to change its energy consumption habits.
“The best and easiest way to save energy is not to use it,” Jetton said.
To help the DSCC faculty and staff understand the impact energy costs were having on the college’s operating budget, energy scorecards that tracked utility expenses at each DSCC location were presented at Administrative Council meetings. Information and reminders about energy conservation were published in Work in Progress, the college’s faculty and staff newsletter. All faculty and staff have been asked to turn off computers when not in use and to remove unnecessary appliances.
In addition, DSCC has been thinking forward in its recent renovation and construction projects. As a part of the Dyersburg campus Learning Resource Center construction and renovation, new energy efficient white roofs were installed. The Student Center, constructed in 2008, and the Campus Activities building, renovated the same year, are now heated and cooled through an innovative geothermal system.
One particularly effective energy cost-saving measure is DSCC’s participation in Energy Network Operations Center, an energy management program recommended by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The college entered the program in the spring of 2011. According to its website, EnerNOC “helps commercial, institutional and industrial organizations use energy more intelligently, pay less for it and generate cash flow that benefits the bottom line.”
Together, these changes will help keep utility costs lower and the college more affordable. The college is appointing a committee to continue implementing changes that are cost effective and keep DSCC on the forefront of the energy conservation movement.