Washburn University recently began a 20-month, $12.3 million project to reduce energy consumption and the campus’ carbon footprint while making a significant improvement to the learning environment.
Following an audit of campus facilities to identify conservation measures, the university’s board approved in November 2012 an energy-performance contract with Trane to oversee the renovation and upgrade of campus buildings in alignment with the university’s 150 Forward strategic plan. Construction has begun and all the improvements are anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2014.
The most significant changes students and faculty will notice are the thermal and visual comfort improvements generated from upgrading the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and lighting systems. Most buildings on campus will receive energy efficient lighting upgrades that will enhance the learning environment and improve energy efficiency. Additionally, HVAC equipment and control system upgrades will improve indoor air quality, ventilation and classroom comfort. Additional improvements include low-flow water fixture upgrades in most buildings and updating of the fume hood system in Stoffer Science Hall.
“This project will provide improvements to Washburn’s facilities by increasing our long-term energy efficiency while considerably reducing the campus’ carbon footprint,” said Rick Anderson, vice president for administration and treasurer. “When the project is complete, we will have a sustainable, high performance campus and we will see significant savings annually in our operating costs.”
Throughout construction Trane will have a job-site office, at 21st Street and Washburn Avenue, where a local team will be located to manage the project. Although students and faculty may notice a few more hard hats on campus, Trane has scheduled the design and construction in phases to allow occupancy and instructional activities to continue with minimal disruption.
The project is funded with an energy performance contract authorized by Kansas statute for funding public infrastructure improvement projects. By managing and optimizing energy use, higher education institutions can leverage energy and operational savings to support strategic educational objectives.
With the new energy efficient upgrades, Washburn University is expected to save nearly $618,000 annually in utility expenses. That savings will initially be dedicated to paying off the cost of the improvements. Additionally, by replacing aging infrastructure Washburn will reduce its deferred maintenance backlog while preparing facilities for decades of additional use.
Rick Anderson, vice president for administration and treasurer, 785-670-1634
Amanda Hughes, university relations, 785-670-2153