Saving IFAS Money with Energy Efficiencies

Since 2005-2006, IFAS Facilities, Planning and Operations has saved about $1M or more in utility costs despite adding square feet of built space. This past fiscal year, the total cost for IFAS utilities was $7.091M, which was slightly up over the previous year. Great minds came together to try to figure out the WHY. Guess what–it was a very hot year and that is what we have come up with.

Did you know that IFAS Facilities, Planning and Operations keeps real-time track of utility usage around the state for our IFAS properties? Typically if there is a problem with one of the systems, this is a method to detect it by watching the dashboard. During a major storm such as a hurricane, it is easy to see from a central main campus location when the power is out at an off campus site.

A current energy efficiency project in IFAS is a large scale overhaul for the animal sciences buildings on Shealy Drive on the main UF campus of redoing HVAC systems, moving freezer rooms, removing fume hoods no longer in service, etc.

IFAS entered into a formal Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESCO) with Siemens, to redo the Entomology and Nematology building’s systems; construction was completed in June 2015. The project included:

  • Extensive Replacement of End of Life Air Handling Units
  • Conversion of Constant Volume Air Distribution System to Variable Volume
  • Building Automation Upgrades to Accomplish Energy Savings Control
  • Occupancy Sensors Installed Throughout Facility to Set Back Lighting & Ventilation Rates
  • Water Conservation Project
  • Chilled Water Plant Optimization (Demand Flow)

An ESCO is a process encouraged by Florida statutes (F.S. 1013.23 & F.S. 489.145) for infrastructure renewal. The general way it works is that the ESCO partner takes the design, construction, and performance risk and guarantees savings; the savings pay some or all of debt service for the ESCO; if there is a savings shortfall, the ESCO pays for it. Note that when the J. Wayne Reitz Union renovation took place on main campus, it also included an ESCO contract. Below are the initial results showed at a 2016 UF Board of Trustees meeting, demonstrating the immediate savings in cost and usage. Here is a link to the full presentation given to IFAS Faculty Assembly.

IFAS remains committed to reducing costs and energy usage in its aging building stock.



Posted: January 8, 2019

Category: UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Research

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