The University of North Texas (UNT) continues to manage and monitor the success of our last energy savings performance contract, which improved our underground chilled water line system and central chilled water plant. The project, completed in 2012, also implemented water and electricity saving measures. To date, the project continues to be very successful. Cost avoidance through August 2019 was $20.68 million versus the predicted $18.25 million, exceeding predictions by $2.43 million. Data for fiscal 2020 was lifetime cost avoidance of $23.66 million versus the predicted $21.33 million, exceeding predictions by $2.33 million.
UNT completed a Request for Quotation in 2019 for an energy performance contract for our Discovery Park campus. A vendor was selected and performed an analysis of the facility. Ultimately, UNT made the decision not to pursue the performance contract; instead, we are pursuing a more traditional design-and-construction approach using multiple contracts for a variety of work scope, and a construction manager at-risk contract for the greatest portions of the scope. Overall investment for the project will be $20.6 million for the 610,000-square-foot facility.
UNT has several mechanical/electrical projects in progress from 2018 to today, which will upgrade equipment and are projected to generate energy savings. Specific buildings with mechanical/HVAC under construction include the Willis Library, Wooten Hall, Sullivant Public Safety Building, Inspire Park Building and the University Services Building. While energy efficiency was not a direct goal for the projects, we do expect more efficiency.
UNT has been periodically replacing combustion-engine maintenance vans and pick-up trucks across campus since 2013. The largest effort has been in the Facilities Maintenance fleet where a significant number of combustion-engine vehicles have been replaced with electric-powered utility carts. Campus-wide, from 2016 to 2020, we have converted to surplus 86, older combustion-powered vehicles and purchased 31 electric carts, as well as 65 combustion vehicles. We continue to seek more opportunities for electric carts.
Exterior lighting has been progressively modified from high-pressure fixtures to LED during 2016-2020, and we anticipate replacing three, high-mast, sodium light poles with LED sidewalk lights in fiscal 2021. Overall energy use should be reduced but by a very minimal amount.
UNT completed an irrigation control project in 2019 to install "smart" control systems. This project is in its first year of operation and appears promising to support irrigation water reduction efforts. Construction of a newly completed soccer complex and golf practice facility will negatively impact water reduction goals.
During the height of COVID-19 restrictions in April-June 2020, UNT used its building automation systems to reset temperature set points. This effort saved kilowatt hours (kWh) and funds and proved the value of properly controlled buildings. In 2020, UNT spent more than $390,000 on control improvements in nine buildings.
On a related note, UNT's energy manager/engineer resigned in early 2020. This loss of position and the corresponding hiring freeze related to COVID-19 hinder our ability to keep a focus on energy programs. We have implemented use of EnergyCap software for improved billing and auditability. Rollout started in fiscal 2018 and 19 and included all commodity billing for water, irrigation water, natural gas and electricity. We believe this has promise in improved accuracy of usage and costs and subsequently management of the resources.
|Utility||Target Year||Benchmark Year||Percentage Goal|
|Water||FY 2025||2019||1% per year|
|Electricity||FY 2025||FY 2020||5% per yr., starting FY 2021|
|Transportation Fuels||FY 2025||2013||5% per year|
|Natural Gas||FY 2025||2019||5% per year|
STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING GOALS
- UNT has purchased and is implementing EnergyCap software as an improved method of record-keeping for our utility bills and usage. We believe that data prior to 2019 is not completely accurate, and we have confidence that our EnergyCap consolidated data is accurate beginning with fiscal 2019. This will provide us with more reliable data to use as a baseline for all utilities except electricity. As per recent state guidance, we will use fiscal 2020 as the baseline for electricity.
- UNT's strategy for greater energy efficiency moving forward involves project identification in our capital improvement process and executed opportunities for operations and maintenance efficiencies as the maintenance team identifies smaller dollar opportunities each year.
- Water efficiency improvements are expected to be obtained by improved irrigation runtimes and preventive and corrective maintenance of the system using the new, smart controllers.
- Electricity efficiency expected to improve as result of continuing replacement of old HVAC equipment and upgrades of control systems across campus in our major mechanical and electrical projects funded with Higher Education Funds in our capital investment program.
- Transportation fuel efficiency is expected to continue to improve through periodic replacement of aging vehicles with electric carts and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Natural gas efficiency will continue to improve with continuing replacement of old boilers and heating equipment as part of our capital improvement program.
- UNT is considering an HVAC re-commissioning program if a funding source can be identified.
- UNT expects improved energy efficiency to be a benefit of our revitalized preventive maintenance program for HVAC equipment. We are increasing the number of equipment items loaded in our preventive maintenance program and fine-tuning the associated tasks. We not only expect less reactive maintenance but some improvement in energy use.
UNT's Capital Investment Program has projects slated for design and/or construction every year in the five-year forecast. (See below for timelines and funding.) Monitoring will be accomplished with quarterly metrics meetings and use of new EnergyCap utility management software. In addition to quarterly management reviews of metrics, an annual summary of metrics will capture progress.
AGENCY FINANCE STRATEGY
|Discovery Park MEP||$20.6M||FY 2021/22||Higher Education Fund (HEF)|
|Terrill Hall MEP||$ 8.4M||FY 2021/22||HEF|
|Clark Hall MEP||$ 4M||FY 2022-24||Auxiliary Funds|
|Crumley Hall MEP||$ 4.17M||FY 2022-25||Auxiliary Funds|
|Science Research Bldg.||$15M||FY 2021-23||Bond|
|Curry Hall MEP||$ 4.4M||FY 2021/22||HEF|
EMPLOYEE AWARENESS PLAN
- UNT plans to release a new university policy on energy use in 2021 and will educate the campus through the university's marketing and communications team.
- Building representatives will be informed of potential cost-saving measures they may help implement and may be able to help educate their co-workers.
- Facilities management employees will be trained on energy-saving measures that they can take in offices.
- Social media will be used to provide reminders to the campus of energy-saving actions that all can take.