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By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor
HVAC Article Use Policy
Like many institutional and commercial facilities around the country, Mississippi State University faced growing utility costs in the mid-2000s that forced maintenance and engineering managers to find new ways to do more with less.
In 2006, the university, located in Starkville, set a goal to reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent per square foot by 2016. So far, so good. The university has saved more than $25 million in electricity and natural gas and is well on its way to reaching its goal. The success has resulted from a series of retrofit projects — most notably, converting its central steam plant to high-efficiency hot-water condensing units. The projects also have added variable air volume (VAV) systems to its buildings and introduced building automation systems to campus as time and budgets allow.
"It's been pretty well documented that doing these types of things over time definitely impacts your bottom line," says J.D. Hardy, the university's associate director of utilities and an energy and mechanical engineer in facilities management in 2008, when the project started. "The cost avoidance is energy we would have otherwise spent if we had not taken the initiative to implement these changes and operate more effectively."
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