Energy savings data reports indicate that the University of Arkansas exceeded the anticipated impact of its campus-wide energy savings and facility modernization program by approximately 20 percent in the first year since the program’s completion.

In 2008, the U of A partnered with Energy Systems Group, a leading energy services provider and wholly owned subsidiary of Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC) to design and install more than $30 million of facility improvements. The goals of the project were to reduce energy consumption and address deferred maintenance issues in 73 buildings on the Fayetteville campus.  The program was named “Razors EDGE,” for Efficiently Delivering Green Energy. The work was completed in 2011.

The energy performance agreement guaranteed that energy savings over a 13-year period would cover the cost of building improvements, reducing the campus’ total annual energy consumption by 30 percent. According to facilities management figures an actual savings of $5.2 million was achieved between 2011-2012, including $1.5 million in construction savings and rebates. The actual savings in the first year of this project exceeded the guaranteed amount by about $879,000.

“Sustainability is a vital concern at the University of Arkansas, and it is our goal to be a carbon neutral institution by the year 2040,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “The work that Energy Systems Group has done on our campus is an important step toward helping us reach this goal. The Razors EDGE project has truly given us an ‘edge’ – demonstrating that it is possible to operate sustainably and to save money at the same time.”

Renovations included the installation of more efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, water conservation equipment, and installation of a solar powered heater for the swimming pool in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) building.

By implementing these energy conservation and sustainability measures, the university has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 18,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to one of the following annual environmental benefits:

  • planting about 15,500 acres of forest;
  • generating enough energy to power about 1,000 homes; or
  • reducing emissions from 4,000 vehicles.

“We were very impressed by the original plan that was presented by ESG and even more impressed by the implementation of the badly-needed energy conservation measures within our campus buildings,” said Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities. “It comes as no surprise we are ‘overachieving’ on our energy savings as initiated by our partners and now being operated on a daily basis by our campus utility/facility operations and maintenance teams. I am confident that we will continue to benefit from this project for many years to come.”

Steve Pride, Energy Systems Group vice president of operations, said, “We commend the University of Arkansas and its leadership for their commitment to sustainability, innovation and environmental stewardship. We value our partnership with the University of Arkansas and are proud to be part of its exceptional success in energy conservation and infrastructure modernization.”

By Energy Systems Group

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