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Upgraded BAS Sets Stage for Improved Efficiency at University of New Mexico


The University of New Mexico laid the groundwork for significant energy savings when it upgraded building automation systems (BAS) in several campus buildings in 2004. A decade later the decision is still paying off.

The upgrades involved installing BAS in 60-70 buildings on the Albuquerque campus and about 24 additional buildings at university campuses throughout the state. The university’s energy services department, created six years ago, completed most of the installation work.

"Our mission was to be more of a control-support division," says Tom Tafoya, energy services manager. "We've grown (as a campus), and we've been doing all our own control installations, programming, commissioning and startup. And we still support the areas as far as maintenance support."

The decision to keep work in-house has saved the university thousands of dollars by eliminating contractor's fees and follow-up maintenance on the systems. Technicians realized many of their service calls involved systems that were installed by contractors.

"Since these are our buildings and it's our job to do this, we can play and we can test and do different things," said Rick Burnett, controls engineer. "We used to have other contractors come in, and they gave us our building, and we would have to go in and fine-tune our system. (Now) we send our guys to school to learn the systems, so it's not like they don't know what they're looking for. They go in and manipulate them."

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