How Constellation is Transforming Energy Management for Universities2 min read
Many universities are even larger than the towns in which they reside.
Using millions of kilowatts of energy each year, these institutions have taken advantage of a number of energy solutions that have ultimately benefitted their bottom line.
Here are three ways that institutions of higher education have harnessed the power of energy choice through one (or many) of Constellation’s solutions:
Upgrades that Guarantee Energy Efficiency
Many universities want to use energy more efficiently, but may not be able to commit to the large upfront capital costs these upgrades often require. Luckily, Constellation offers plans for financing efficiency upgrades with the savings realized over time so they don’t have to wait to start saving money.
We are in the process of completing an energy efficiency and water conservation project for 72 buildings at Ohio University’s main campus in Athens, Ohio, which is guaranteed to save more than $38 million in water and energy costs over a 15-year period. Ohio University will use those savings to fund the $28 million project through low-interest bonds from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority.
The upgrades included lighting retrofits, HVAC improvements and equipment retrofitting.
Did I mention that these changes are expected to save an estimated 9 million gallons of water and save more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year over the next 15 years? That’s equal to taking more than 10,500 cars off the road each year!
Demand Response Strategies
More colleges and universities are willingly curbing their energy usage in response to demand, which allows them to offset some of their costs while minimizing the risk of disruption.
Our demand response program offers financial incentives for universities that curtail usage when demand exceeds supply. We help universities and other businesses manage loads during these high-capacity times. If cutting back sounds like a burden, our team can structure reductions in a way that minimizes disruptions.
Working closely with Ramapo College, we developed a plan that would provide quick and easy curtailment without affecting normal operations.
As a result, the college has committed to curtailing more than 1.5 megawatts of electricity during specific times—typically four hours— by taking strategic actions. That includes reducing static pressure in buildings, disabling rooftop HVAC units and raising chilled-water discharge temperatures.
In New Jersey, demand response curtailments typically last up to four hours, so Ramapo receives a notice two hours before any curtailment will take place.
Making Renewable Affordable
Constellation has already completed a number of renewable energy projects to power universities including university hospitals, with several others in the works.
We have built and financed, and currently own and operate, over 10 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems for universities across the country including the University System of Maryland, the University of San Francisco, Mount Saint Mary’s University, the University of Toledo and the University of Maryland Medical System.
In 2013, Constellation completed building a 3.66 MW DC, grid-connected, solar generation project in Somerset County, Md., which is expected to provide 4.7 million kilowatt hours per year. This system provides power to benefit the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. As part of its agreement, UMMS receives solar renewable energy credits that help satisfy Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requirements. Constellation financed, owns and operates the solar power system.