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Trane, a global provider of indoor comfort systems and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, presented its annual Energy Efficiency Leader Award on Aug 29 to the University of Florida. The award recognizes the university’s commitment to providing a healthy, productive learning environment with minimal impact on the environment.
This commitment includes an energy-efficient approach to the renovation of the university’s J. Wayne Reitz Union building, an upgrade project that continues to exceed performance expectations. Actual energy savings have surpassed 53 percent since infrastructure upgrades were implemented. The upgrades are saving more than $550,000 a year, which represents more than 150 percent of anticipated savings.
"The University of Florida has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and we wanted to ensure that our work on the union upgrades reflected this environmental stewardship pledge,” says Eddie Daniels, assistant vice president of Business Services. “We are here to provide educational opportunities for students, and this project demonstrates our commitment to doing that in an energy efficient and sustainable way.”
Each year, Ingersoll Rand and its brands recognize organizations which demonstrate an outstanding commitment to implementing best practices in energy efficiency and sustainability. Trane has selected the University of Florida as one of just three organizations to receive the award in 2017.
At the award ceremony, held earlier this week at the J. Wayne Reitz Union building, Felix Wilson, vice president, Commercial HVAC NA & EMEA, at Trane, presented the award to university leaders, including Eddie Daniels and Curtis Reynolds, vice president for Business Affairs.
“The University of Florida exemplifies the leadership in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship that we seek to recognize with the Energy Efficiency Leader Award – both based on their results, as well as their overall commitment in implementing their vision of sustainability,” says Dave Regnery, president of commercial HVAC with Trane. “This institution is truly demonstrating the ‘gold standard’ in leading sustainability for campus communities.”
Given tight budgets, it can be challenging for colleges and universities to fund renovation and infrastructure upgrades needed to provide a more sustainable environment. According to the Wall Street Journal, a recent report by Sightlines, a facilities advisory firm, found that the deferred maintenance backlog at colleges nationwide topped $100 per gross square foot of space in 2015, up from $81.72 in 2007.
For the University of Florida, funding the infrastructure improvements with a performance contract enabled the school to pay for the upgrades through future energy savings rather than additional capital expenditures.
Prior to implementing the upgrades, university leaders completed an audit of the building to identify opportunities for improvements. Based on the results, University of Florida leaders maximized energy conservation measures for the facility. Improvements included an upgraded chilled water system designed to lower environmental impact. The project team also added a building automaton system to control HVAC and lighting systems throughout the building and to use for scheduling occupied/unoccupied control for night setback of cooling and heating set points.
The union upgrade project also received the 2016 EBie Power to the People Award for the greatest percentage reduction in building energy use from the Urban Green Council in New York.