Green Building Initiative, Colgate University

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Ultimately, it is in Colgate's best interest to pursue some of these .... LEED certification typically adds 1 to 5% of additional costs to a building project. For larger ... According to the EPA's website, the Portfolio Manager is an “interactive energy.
Energy Efficiency of Colgate University Buildings A Performance Based Approach to Sustainability

ENST 480, Fall 2009 Greg Bricca Jon Gimber Brian Martin Jim Rollings Rose Schwartz Peter Smith

i. Executive Summary The energy efficiency of buildings is of growing importance to Colgate University due to various economic and environmental implications. Colgate has a responsibility to supply heat and electricity to its students and faculty throughout the year in an economically efficient and environmentally conscious manner. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Colgate spent a total of $2,321,592 on various fuels to heat both its on-campus and auxiliary buildings. Additionally, Colgate buildings used a total of 35,571,030 kWh of electricity, equivalent to the emission of 1,885 metric tons of greenhouse gases (Partigianoni 2009). By increasing the energy efficiency of its buildings, Colgate can reduce operational costs and decrease the greenhouse gas emissions for which it is responsible. This report discusses the importance of energy efficient buildings at Colgate with a specific focus on six University facilities. Using the EPA's Portfolio Manager to evaluate and rate the buildings' energy performances, Colgate is able to continually track energy use and determine which buildings offer the greatest potential for energy savings. The EPA’s Portfolio Manager was chosen for Colgate over the popular LEED certification program for three main reasons. Firstly, Portfolio Manager provides a free online building energy efficiency evaluation and requires only the manual input of heating and electricity records. Secondly, Portfolio Manager specifically addresses the energy performance of buildings, as the EPA believes that energy efficiency is the foundation of green building. Thirdly, Portfolio Manager provides a bench-marking system for each building within the portfolio and allows the user to track and assess the building's energy performance throughout its lifetime. Thus, renovations and improvements will be reflected in the building's future ratings. Since Colgate maintains a variety of building types that serve different purposes, it is necessary to evaluate each of these types to adequately address the energy efficiency of buildings at Colgate. The six buildings selected include two on-campus residence halls (Andrews Hall and West Hall), two on-campus academic buildings (McGregory Hall and Wynn Hall), and two auxiliary residence buildings (Sigma Chi and 94 Broad Street). The on-campus buildings receive heat from steam generated at the central plant while the two auxiliary buildings obtain their heat from on-site fuel oil #2 boilers (Beldon 2009). Only Sigma Chi and 94 Broad Street received ratings from the Portfolio Manager. Because Colgate only recently added sub-meters to individual buildings, the other four buildings did not produce ratings due to insufficient heating data. Sigma Chi received an energy rating of 47 while 94 Broad received a rating of 80, which places these buildings in the 47th percentile and 80th percentile, respectively, when compared to other residence halls nationwide. In order to better understand these findings, thermal images were taken and building walk-throughs were conducted with a member of Buildings & Grounds. Future recommendations for Colgate include sub-metering the remaining buildings on campus and continued use of the Portfolio Manager to track and assess all buildings’ energy performances over time. Additionally, there are cost-effective retrofitting options that will improve building energy efficiency such as installing user-friendly heating controls in residence halls to minimize temperature fluctuation. A final recommendation is to implement building-specific education programs for new occupants so that they can learn to efficiently regulate the heating and cooling of their living spaces. By increasing student awareness and understanding of heating controls, the University can mitigate significant building energy inefficiencies caused by wasteful occupant behavior. Ultimately, it is in Colgate’s best interest to pursue some of these recommendations in the near future so that assessments can be made and the necessary improvements implemented.


Table of Contents i. Executive Summary……………………………………………………………...1 1. Importance of Energy Efficient Buildings……………………………………….3 2. LEED vs. EPA Portfolio Manager………………………………………………4 2a. LEED 2b. EPA Portfolio Manager 3. Energy Sources at Colgate…………………………………………………….....6 3a. Heating 3b. Electricity 4. Methodology……………………………………………………………………..8 4a. EPA Portfolio Manager 4b. Thermal Imaging 4c. Building Walk-Throughs 5. Results and Discussion…………………………………………………………13 5a. Auxiliary Buildings 5b. On-campus Academic Buildings and Residence Halls 6. Recommendations……………………………………………………………...18 6a. Importance of Sub-metering 6b. Retrofits 6c. Building-Specific Occupant Education 6d. Continued Use of the Portfolio Manager 7. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...21 8. Acknowledgments, Contacts and Works Cited………………...………………22


1. Importance of Energy Efficient Buildings Over 70% of all U.S. electricity consumption and 40% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to energy consumption in buildings (Detchon et al. 2009). A building's energy use is largely a factor of its square footage, primary purpose, and occupant behavior. As microcosms of society, American colleges and universities are comprised of diverse facilities encompassing residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. There are more than 17 million students enrolled in American colleges and universities, many of whom reside and recreate on campus during the academic school year (Rappaport 2008). Consequently, educational institutions consume vast amounts of natural resources from various sources to meet the needs of their students, faculty, and staff. Depending upon school size and geographic location, colleges and universities may have the largest ecological footprint within their respective communities. Starting in the 1970s with the first Earth Day, campuses nationwide have pursued “green” initiatives largely fueled by student groups and local environmental activists. These “greening” strategies primarily focused on increasing recycling efforts, water conservation, and solid waste reduction. It was not until the 1990s when the objectives of such greening programs expanded to address the dramatic growth of colleges and universities across the country (Rappaport 2008). As more students enrolled in higher education, schools consumed additional resources to meet the increased demands for space (classrooms, residences, etc) and educational tools (computers, sophisticated laboratories, etc). Such improvements to the educational experience, however, consume significant amounts of energy, which ultimately leads to greater environmental and economic costs. In the United States alone, colleges and universities spend an estimated $2 billion per year on energy (EPA 2009). These energy costs are expected to rise due to increasing demand for finite resources and possible supply interruptions from extreme weather events caused by climate change (Rappaport 2008). Educational institutions, however, can reduce energy costs and mitigate future risks by improving the energy efficiency of their facilities and promoting sustainable behaviors on campus. As Creighton (1998, pp. 6) notes: Universities can both teach and demonstrate environmental principles and stewardship by taking action to understand and reduce the environmental impacts that result from their own activities.

Thus, reducing energy consumption goes beyond cutting operational costs. As learning laboratories, colleges and universities must strive to become international models of campus greening, develop new fixes to old problems, and produce graduates that can one day tackle local, regional, and global environmental issues. Energy efficiency of buildings is an area of growing importance to Colgate University because of its various economic and environmental implications. Increasingly, there are calls for transparency and accountability among institutions. Colgate has a responsibility to supply heat to its students and faculty, and it should accomplish these goals in an economically efficient and environmentally conscious manner. These issues raise questions for the development of performance indicators. A bilateral approach should be taken, tackling economic and environmental issues when constructing new buildings or retrofitting existing ones. Policies should simultaneously aim to reduce the costliness of energy consumption and environmental impact (Keeble et al. 2002). Colgate has committed to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). By making this commitment, Colgate has agreed to complete an emissions inventory, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming carbon


neutral, take immediate steps to reduce green house gas emissions, integrate sustainability into the curriculum, and make the action plan, inventory, and progress reports publicly available. Colgate is becoming better known as an elite university in the United States. In order to attract prospective students, Colgate must publicly display its willingness to pursue adaptations and reduce its carbon footprint. Already, Colgate has begun to reach some professed goals for sustainability. As a signatory to ACUPCC, Colgate must continue to address salient issues surrounding climate change. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Colgate buildings used a total of 35,571,030 kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the emission of 1,855 metric tons of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalents. To heat on-campus buildings, Colgate burned 21,808 tons of wood chips and 349,712 gallons of fuel oil #6. Colgate also burned 185,503 gallons of fuel oil #2 to heat all auxiliary buildings. In sum, this totals $2,321,592 in heating costs (Partigianoni 2009). By increasing energy efficiency in buildings, Colgate can diminish costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions for which it is responsible. Colgate also has certain courses and curricula that focus on sustainability and the importance of environmental protection, such as the seminar for which this report was written. Colgate should "practice what it preaches" in the sense that parts of its curriculum should be reflected in its policies and actions. In some cases there is a direct contradiction between the economics and environmental impacts of a given technology or investment. "Since universities are generally long-lived institutions, they should be concerned with the long-term health and livability of their community and region" (Creighton 1998, pp. 6). Thus, Colgate must be conscious of its immediate and long-term impacts on all geographic scales. 2. LEED vs. EPA Portfolio Manager The two most popular systems for evaluating building energy performance today are the United States Green Building Council’s rating system, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the Environmental Protection Agency's Portfolio Manager. The two systems have different aims and each system is useful for its own purpose. For our purpose of evaluating select buildings on their energy use and efficiency, we decided that Portfolio Manager is better, though both systems could be used. 2a. LEED LEED is the better publicized and more well known of the two. The rating system is comprised of five main categories which include site planning, energy consumption, water usage, indoor environmental quality, and building materials. These categories contribute to the whole building approach to sustainable design which highlights specific areas. The main concerns about LEED are the cost of certification and the practicality of the rating. LEED evaluates a building’s energy performance at a single point in time, usually when a new building is constructed. Builders, developers and homeowners want green buildings, but certification is often too expensive. Even if a building is very energy efficient, the cost to certify it is enormously high. LEED certification typically adds 1 to 5% of additional costs to a building project. For larger scale projects, this could mean tens of thousands of dollars or more added to the budget. Builders tend to spend too much money on things needed for LEED that will not directly benefit the environment when they could use that money on more environmentally conscious building materials. Furthermore, builders and project managers often get too caught up in attaining LEED points and forget about the real goal of energy efficiency. In a study done by LEED in 2006, more than half of the certified buildings would not have reached the EPA's


Energy Star label (Navarro 2009). Even if the building does conserve energy, gaining the documentation of data and trying to get LEED to accept it is often too arduous. The process to get certified is slow, expensive, confusing, unreliable and more times than not a waste of money that can be spent elsewhere in a more useful manner. 2b. EPA Portfolio Manager According to the EPA's website, the Portfolio Manager is an “interactive energy management tool that allows you to track and assess energy and water consumption across your entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment" (Energy Star 2009 c). Developed by the EPA in 1999, the Portfolio Manager is run entirely online and made available to everyone from large corporations and universities to individual households. Portfolio Manager is specifically designed around the energy efficiency of buildings. The EPA believes that energy efficiency is the first step in green building. The Portfolio Manager provides a bench marking system for each building within the portfolio and allows the user to track and monitor the building's energy performance throughout the course of its lifetime. Prior to choosing Portfolio Manager over LEED, we did a side-by-side comparison of the two. In terms of cost, Portfolio Manager is cheaper than LEED. In fact, it is free of charge. Unlike LEED, Portfolio Manager does not take into account random "green" building aspects such as superfluous flower plots, bike racks or recycling bins. The major advantage for using Portfolio Manager over LEED is that Portfolio Manager continuously tracks and assesses the building's energy performance instead of taking a single snap-shot in time. With Portfolio Manager, the user is able to regularly input data on energy use and track the building's performance over its lifetime. If a new system is installed or improvements made that will change energy use, this will be reflected in the Portfolio Manager. LEED rates buildings individually whereas Portfolio Manager rates buildings relative to similar building types nationwide. Portfolio Manager compares a building's energy performance to that of a similar building type. For example, a dormitory/residence hall will be compared with other dormitory/residence halls. The biggest disadvantage of Portfolio Manager compared with LEED is that it may be too focused on energy efficiency. LEED's approach encompasses a variety of features regarding the building's site, construction materials and indoor air quality. By not looking at all these areas, Portfolio Manager lacks the full picture and seems like it has only a single piece. Additionally, Portfolio Manager restricts which buildings can be evaluated. Table 1: Portfolio Manager vs. LEED


For our project we ultimately chose to use the Portfolio Manager because it is free, easy to use and focused on energy efficiency that we have data for. Colgate has a history of not paying for LEED certification for new buildings so we have decided to use the Portfolio Manager to show Colgate the alternative rating system that we think is far better than LEED. As previously mentioned, the Portfolio Manager allows the user to continually update the energy uses of buildings which will let Colgate track buildings' energy performances into the future. 3. Energy Sources at Colgate Colgate University buildings are heated primarily in two different ways depending on their geographical proximity to the central campus. Heating energy for on-campus buildings originates from steam generated in the central plant, whereas heating energy for auxiliary buildings comes from fuel oils combusted in on-site boilers. All electrical needs are fulfilled by the Village of Hamilton municipal power plant (Partigianoni 2009 a). The number of kilowatt hours Colgate requires is determined by aggregate usage, and cost is calculated froma normal rate charge, a purchased power adjustment, and a demand charge. 3a. Heating Heat for on-campus buildings at Colgate is generated at the central plant through the use of one steam generator that runs on the combustion of wood chips and three crude oil #6 burners. The wood chip generator acts as the primary source of heat for buildings on campus; the three oil burners are used when the heating demand increases substantially during the winter months. Built in 1981, the central steam plant is located next to Huntington Gym. According to Boiler Operator Bruce Scott (November 2009), wood chips are delivered four times a day in shipments of 30 to 35 tons from various tree farms. The majority of these wood chips come from upstate New York timber companies that clear cut land for residential development. Additionally, the recent development of a local willow plot will help to contribute to the wood chip supply, but in reality may not have such profound impacts (Scott 2009). The acreage of willow plots needed to supply the central plant with wood chips is not currently known for this region. To meet the daily heating demands, Colgate's heating facility is able to store 240 tons of chips at a time. Following a filtration process, wood chips are burned within a furnace that is electronically monitored for pressure and temperature. An automated fan adds more chips to the furnace as needed (Scott 2009). The wood chips burn at temperatures between 1100°F and 1300°F. Heat from the furnace warms water held in cylinders above, which in turn creates steam. This steam is then transferred to all on-campus Colgate buildings through one of three lines: the gym line, the flat line, and the hill line. For some buildings on campus, the transported steam heats the buildings’ hot water tanks. This hot water is then pumped through the entire building by way of baseboard heaters or radiators in each room (Belden 2009). Although the central plant has been around for more than twenty-five years, routine maintenance and improvements to the plant have increased the operational efficiency (Belden 2009). Each year, the system is shut down for a few days in the summer so that necessary upkeep can be done and renovations can be made. Colgate recently installed monitors on two of the fans used in the wood chip burning process, which have helped to increase efficiency. The fans used to always run at 100% capacity, but now they operate only at their necessary speeds. The recent construction of the Ho Science Center, however, has revealed the limited capacity of the central plant. Before the incorporation of the Ho Science Center to campus, the furnace alone was able to heat buildings until the outside temperature dropped below 32°F.


Below this temperature, the use of fuel oil #6 was required. Due to the additional demand from the Ho Science Center, the furnace alone can provide heat as long as the outside temperature does not drop below 35° to 40°F. Below these temperatures, Colgate must switch over to fuel oil #6, which unlike the wood chips emits more greenhouse gases and is more costly (Belden 2009). Fuel oil #6 is produced by blending additives and stocks to the residue of prior distillations, making it a heavier oil that creates more byproducts (Rischer et al 1995). The Northeast accounts for 84% of heating oil sales in America, with New York being the number one consumer (EIA 2009). The auxiliary buildings at Colgate are not heated with steam from the central plant, but instead are heated with fuel oil #2 from on-site boilers. The fuel is delivered by truck, based on demand. Similar to the central plant’s steam system, the fuel oil heats water which is distributed throughout the building by way of baseboard and cast-iron radiators. Day Automation temperature sensors in each of the auxiliary buildings monitor the space temperatures and relay the information to the physical plant. The physical plant adjusts the buildings’ blowers to maintain the buildings’ temperature set points, which are generally between 67 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (Babich 2009). If a building’s students have access to a thermostat, whether in a common room or bedroom, the students can control the amount of heated air blown into the space. While the Day Automation system is controlled by the physical plant, the heating records are kept as billing receipts at the Accounting Office through Dan Partigianoni (2009). 3b. Electricity Electricity for Colgate University originates from the Village of Hamilton municipal power plant. Hamilton receives allotments of kilowatt hours (kWh) from the regional electrical grid. Madison County's electricity is generated primarily from coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, and hydroelectric sources with additional inputs from biomass and wind (EIA 2009 a). Hydro power from Niagara Falls comprises the primary power source for the Village of Hamilton. The Village is allocated a designated amount of hydro power each month to be used by its customers. Colgate electricity bills can be summarized in three segments: the normal rate charge, purchased power adjustment, and the demand charge. The rate is fixed by the Village and does not change unless a motion is approved by the utilities commission. The charge is calculated by taking our usage from our meter readings and multiplying them by a factor (specific to building size) to reach our kilowatt hours used. The kilowatt hours used are then multiplied by the normal rate to come up with our electricity charge. When the Village exceeds its hydro power allocation, it is forced to purchase extra electricity from alternate sources like nuclear plants. These alternate sources are generally more expensive than hydro power. The power adjustment is purchased at a different rate from normal electricity, and varies from month to month based on various factors. One determining factor in the past has been low-flow years in the Northeast that impact the Niagara Falls watershed. Due to supply and demand dynamics, when the allotment decreases, the electricity rate goes up. Thirdly, demand charges incorporate costs of equipment that must be on stand-by to handle short term requirements for maximum load periods (usually no longer than one month time). Once the demand is established, the rate is set for eleven months or until a new maximum threshold is reached. To minimize demand charges, electricity usage is spread out to reduce the peak demand that can occur at any given time. Demand meters have been installed on facilities that use 6,000 kWh/month for three consecutive months. These meters monitor electricity usage to establish the maximum demand on which the rate is calculated (Partigianoni 2009 a). An automated system initiates "load


shedding" to limit consumption and Colgate shuts down other extraneous electricity sources starting with supply exhaust fans (Babich 2009). Screen Shot 1: Order of Electricity Shutdowns on Request of the Village of Hamilton

Colgate’s electricity information is gathered on a monthly basis and is compiled into fiscal annual reports. Usage is typically monitored individually for each building, but some buildings, like the townhouses, are aggregated. Until the end of the fiscal year, data is available only through paper copy receipts in Colgate’s accounting office (Partigianoni 2009 a). 4. Methodology Due to Colgate University’s limited energy use records, this project examines the energy efficiencies of six different University buildings in an attempt to best represent the overall campus. Colgate, like most other universities, is comprised of residential housing, academic and administrative facilities, and a variety of auxiliary buildings suited to fulfill diverse purposes. Out of each of these three categories, two buildings with the most complete and up-todate data were selected. Under the residential housing category, West Hall and Andrews Hall were chosen. These buildings are two of the oldest on campus and house over 100 first-year residents. The buildings of Wynn Hall and McGregory Hall represent the Academic and Administrative sector of campus. Both of these buildings are comprised of classrooms and administrative offices, as well as a small library in the basement of McGregory and a number of technical laboratories in the basement of Wynn. Finally, out of the many auxiliary buildings, this study uses the 94 Broad Street residence hall and the Sigma Chi fraternity house located at 100 Hamilton Street. These two buildings do not operate on the central plant line and are large residential houses for many upper class students. It is important to note that the energy consumption in all Colgate residence halls decreases over academic breaks, such as summer break (May-August) and winter break (December-January). Below, in Table 2, are the profiles of these six buildings.


Table 2: Select Building Profiles

For each of these buildings, energy data was gathered and inputted into the Portfolio Manager to evaluate and rate the buildings' energy performances. In order to better understand the results from the Portfolio Manager, thermal images were taken and building walk-throughs were conducted with a member of Buildings & Grounds. 4a. EPA Portfolio Manager The first step in using Portfolio Manager is to create an online account on the EPA website. Colgate's account username is COLGATEUNIV and the password is colgate13. The next step is to create a campus and add however many buildings are being evaluated. Screen Shot 2: Colgate Campus Profile

In order to receive a national energy performance rating, otherwise known as an EPA Energy Star Label, the Portfolio Manager requires buildings to be categorized by their primary uses (residence hall, office, warehouse, etc). Although four of the buildings evaluated in this report were easily placed in the dormitory/residence hall building category, Portfolio Manager currently


lacks an academic building category. Thus, McGregory Hall and Wynn Hall had to be categorized as “other.” Consequently, these buildings could not be given a performance rating since more than 10% of the space was described as “other.” The next step is to create meters for each building based on the building’s specific energy uses such as steam, electricity or fuel oil #6. The Portfolio Manager requires information on energy use that is specific to the buildings being evaluated. The data gathered was based on spreadsheets from Pete Babich in the Buildings and Grounds database and billing receipts taken from Dan Partigianoni in the Accounting Office. The data is then aggregated and inputted into the online portfolio on a month by month basis. There is an option to input the monthly costs of energy pertaining to each meter, but this is not required. Screen Shot 3: Sigma Chi Electricity Meter Data Input

There must be 12 complete and consecutive months of energy data in order to receive any Portfolio Manager energy efficiency assessment. Additionally, the inputted energy meter data must not have any information gaps or overlaps exceeding one day. These restrictions affected the all buildings connected to the central plant, because meters were installed less than one year ago. Although heating is monitored individually for each Colgate auxiliary building, on-campus buildings heated by the central plant were not sub-metered until February 2009. As a result of this insufficient steam data, neither on-campus dormitory hall is presently eligible for energy ratings. Along with the energy data, the Portfolio Manager requires the user to input specific building characteristics including square footage, number of rooms, number of computers and percentage of the building that is cooled and/or heated. This structural data is also found through Pete Babich at the Buildings and Grounds Office.


Screen Shot 4: West Hall Structural Data Input

After inputting all this information, the Portfolio Manager produces four ratings: Current Rating, Current Source Energy Intensity Rating, Change from Baseline: Adjusted Energy Use, and Change from Baseline: GHG Emissions. The first rating, Current Rating, represents a percentile ranking the building’s energy performance in comparison to other similar building type across the nation. It takes into account energy use, level of business activity, and geographic location. The other three ratings evaluate the building on its relative performance over time. The Current Source Energy Intensity Rating measures the total amount of raw fuel required to operate the building. Raw fuel incorporates both primary energy (e.g. fuel oil, natural gas) and secondary energy (e.g. heat, electricity). It converts both types of energy into comparable factors in order to assess the building's efficiency with its proportion of primary and secondary energy. The Change from Baseline: Adjusted Energy Use (%) Rating evaluates the percentage change of the building's energy use between current use and the baseline 12 month period. This rating adjusts for changes in weather and business activity. The final rating, The Change from Baseline: GHG Emissions, measures the unadjusted change in green house gas emissions between current emissions and the baseline 12 month period (Energy Star 2009 b).


Screen Shot 5: 94 Broad Street Building Results

Eligibility for receiving the Energy Star depends on several criteria. Those pertinent to Colgate University are that the facility’s energy performance rating must be 75 or greater and that the current period ending date must be no more than 120 days from the current date. The Portfolio Manager account is online and can be accessed by anyone with the required username and password. The building profiles within the portfolio can be edited if renovations are made and the energy use data can be updated each month. 4b. Thermal Imaging Thermography is a helpful tool in energy efficiency evaluation because it uses infrared imaging to identify thermal energy emissions. Unlike visible light, humans cannot see thermal (infrared) energy because its wavelengths are too long. Instead, we sense this energy as heat. Thermography allows us to measure the heat being emitted from an object, such as where heat is escaping from a building. Thus, thermal imaging can be used to evaluate energy efficiency. Infrared cameras are ideal instruments to locate and measure the incidents of thermal loss, air infiltration, internal air infiltration, and material inconsistency and/or damage in buildings (Woolaway 2008). Using a Fluke Ti30 Infrared Camera borrowed from Colgate Buildings and Grounds, thermal images were taken of the selected six buildings to record energy inefficiencies resulting from escaped heat. For each building, a thorough walk around with the thermal imaging camera was accomplished, with special attention given to most common sources of heat loss (windows, doors, poorly insulated walls, etc). Accurate thermal imaging requires cold outside temperatures with stable atmospheric conditions, as surface moisture and other liquids can affect thermal imaging (Woolaway 2008). To minimize measurement errors caused by heat trapped in building walls from warm daytime temperatures, all thermal imaging was conducted between midnight and 2 AM. Additionally, thermal images were only recorded during nights without any precipitation. Below is a thermal image of cracked windows on the rear side of 94 Broad Street. Heat loss can be seen where the image is red at the perimeters of certain windows.


Thermal Image 1: 94 Broad Street Heat Loss from Cracked Windows

4c. Building Walk-Throughs A building's energy use reflects construction materials, heating and electrical infrastructures, and occupational usage. Since Colgate University's conception in 1819, there have been many advances in construction material, building design, and heating practices. However, Colgate's expanding campus and growing dependency on technology has significantly increased consumption. Each building necessitates individual examination as no two buildings are exactly alike. For each facility under review, a building walk-through was led by Brian Belden, the Millwright Foreman for Buildings and Grounds. Brian is important to consult with because job-specific familiarity establishes intimate knowledge of the energy efficiency performance of facilities. Most B&G staff are assigned specific buildings for maintenance. Consequently, B&G staff are able to provide pertinent information on building construction, heating and electrical systems, and glaring energy sinks. 5. Results and Discussion After inputting each building’s energy data into Portfolio Manager, energy efficiency ratings were given only to the Sigma Chi and 94 Broad Street residence halls. The other four buildings did not produce ratings due to insufficient heating data, as Colgate only recently added sub-meters to individual on-campus buildings. 5a. Auxiliary Buildings Compared with similar residential buildings nationwide, 94 Broad Street was ranked in the 80th percentile while Sigma Chi was placed in the 47th percentile. As a result of 94 Broad Street placing higher than the 75th percentile, the building is eligible for an Energy Star Certification Label. Additionally, both buildings reduced their energy use from their baselines taken in November 2008, yet only Sigma Chi decreased its subsequent greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison to 94 Broad Street, Sigma Chi is not as energy efficient. For both the overall rating and the CSEI rating, 94 Broad did much better than Sigma Chi. Table 3 summarizes the results for the both of the buildings.


Table 3: Portfolio Manager Results for Auxiliary Buildings

Sigma Chi consumes almost twice as much electricity per person and fuel oil #2 per square foot as 94 Broad Street (see Figures 1 and 2). Figure 1: Sigma Chi and 94 Broad Electricity Use

Figure 2: Sigma Chi and 94 Broad Fuel Oil Use

Electricity Use (per occupant)

Fuel Oil #2 Consumption (per sq. ft.)






3000 2007/2008



2000 1500 1000

Gallons/sq. ft.



0.6 0.5




0.3 0.2 0.1 0


Sigma Chi

0 Sigma

94 Broad Residence

94 Broad


There may be multiple reasons as to why 94 Broad Street may be more energy efficient than Sigma Chi and receive a higher Portfolio Manager rating. Building walk-throughs allowed for closer insight into the resulting data. Upon further inspection, temperature sensors, chimney control, building insulation, and functioning kitchens may be related to these differences in consumption. Temperature automation is an efficient way of controlling the heat in a building. As noted earlier, heating sensors made by Day Automation are strategically placed throughout 94 Broad Street to help monitor and regulate temperature. This real time sensor data is relayed to the Buildings and Grounds Office and used to constantly regulate the building’s temperature. Because there are multiple temperature gauges throughout the building, the system is more likely to be running efficiently and close to its set temperature. Sigma Chi, however, is entirely controlled from one sensor in an isolated common room with a fireplace (Belden 2009). This means that if an individual’s room is too hot, the occupant can only open his windows to cool it, allowing the heat to continue running. If it is too cold, the occupant has no way to heat the room unless the temperature in the room with the sensor drops. Heating inefficiencies such as open windows can be noticed in the Day Automation system at Buildings and Grounds. Below is a screen shot from Buildings and Grounds that reflect the Day Automation temperature monitoring of 94 Broad Street (Babich 2009).


Screen Shot 6: Day Automation for 94 Broad Street

Further analysis of the results of the thermal images for Sigma Chi revealed an interesting spike in heat loss running up through the chimney. Upon inspection, the flue is constantly open at this location. An open flue in a chimney provides an easy pathway for heat loss as heat rises to the exterior. Furthermore, an older chimney may have warped or cracked in the process of heating and cooling the metal lining. Chimney control and maintenance is an easy way to save energy (DOE 2008). The heat loss from the chimney can be seen in the red areas of the thermal image below. Thermal Image 2: Sigma Chi Heat Loss from Chimney

Another important finding from the building walk-throughs was the fully functioning kitchen in the basement of Sigma Chi, which includes a walk in freezer and refrigerator. Updating outdated commercial kitchens, like Sigma Chi’s, can save 10-30% on the energy costs


of that building (Energy Star 2009 a). Although outfitted for a fully functioning commercial kitchen, 94 Broad has not used its kitchen since Colgate transitioned the building into a nonfraternity, student residency many years ago. The kitchen in Sigma Chi most likely adds to the overall electricity consumption of the building. By comparing other auxiliary residential buildings with similar occupancies, it is clear that buildings with fully operational kitchens have significantly higher electricity consumptions than that of 94 Broad Street (Pumilio 2009). A submeter attached specifically to the Sigma Chi kitchen could confirm this finding. Lastly, differences in insulation were noted during the building walk-throughs. According to Brian Belden (2009), Sigma Chi relies only on the exterior stone and interior cement blocks for insulation. There is no added synthetic insulation in between the stone and cement. However, 94 Broad, which has been renovated within the past ten years, has fiberglass insulation, helping to reduce the heat loss from conduction, convection, and radiation through the walls to the outside air. 5b. On-Campus Academic Buildings and Residence Halls The on-campus academic buildings (McGregory and Wynn Halls) and dormitories (Andrews and West Halls) were unable to be rated by the Portfolio Manager because of an insufficient amount of steam data over a twelve-month period. Furthermore, the academic buildings could not receive a rating because there is no technical categorization by the EPA for academic buildings. Once Colgate has recorded data through March of 2010, there will be the full year of information necessary for the program to perform an analysis on the two dormitories. There were significant gaps and inconsistencies in energy data used for the on-campus dormitories and academic buildings, possibly due to multiple sources of information. Consequently, the results given in the figure below may reflect these data errors such as the differences in electricity consumption per occupant for West Hall between the fiscal years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. In building walk-throughs there was no evidence as to what caused the differences in energy consumption for Andrews and West Halls. The only likely cause would be attributed to differences in occupant behavior between dorms (Babich 2009). Below are figures comparing the steam use per square foot for both dormitories. As the figure shows, Andrews Hall uses more steam per square foot compared to West Hall. With a closer examination of independent variables, the difference is negligible and the results are inconclusive. Both buildings have identical building designs, heating systems, occupancies, and occupant temperature controls in each room. The AERCO Water Wizard has been installed in both Andrews and West Halls to increase efficiency of hot water usage for the buildings. As the most thermally efficient domestic water heating packages available for commercial and industrial use, these compact indirect-fired heaters offer tight temperature control, longevity, and low maintenance, all without the need for large storage tanks (Belden 2009). Furthermore, occupant behavior appeared to be similar in both dorms as open windows were observed as a form of temperature regulation.


Figure 3: West and Andrews Electricity Use

Figure 4: West and Andrews Steam Use Steam Use (per sq. ft.) March - Sept. 2009

Electricity Use (per occupant) 2000

25 1800

Pounds/sq. ft.











5 0

800 West






Electricity usage for the past two years and the steam data from March 2009 until Sept. 2009 for both Wynn and McGregory Halls are compared with the available data in the figures below. In both instances, Wynn Hall consumes far more energy (electrical and steam) than McGregory Hall. Significant variance in consumption can be attributed to several independent variables. Wynn Hall's chemistry labs utilize AHU fume hoods which run continuously and function as a very large energy sink. Thus, the cumulative steam input of Wynn Hall is much larger when the AHU energy is accounted for. According to Brian Belden (2009), McGregory Hall encompasses administrative offices, classrooms, and a functioning small library. The largest electricity use of the building is from computers throughout the building. Both buildings are heated on the central plant line. The domestic water tank in McGregory Hall is outdated and is characterized by a larger volume capacity than newer versions that have been implemented in buildings such as West Hall and Andrews Hall. However, this is a minor concern for Buildings and Ground staff in the grand scheme of energy consumption because McGregory Hall does not use as much water as student dormitories. McGregory and Wynn Halls are utilized year-round because of the presence of students and faculty conducting research during the summer months. Figure 5: McGregory and Wynn Electricity Use

Figure 6: McGregory and Wynn Steam Use Steam Use (per sq. ft.) March-Sept 2009

Electricity Use (per sq. ft.) 80

45 40





2007/2008 2008/2009


Pounds/sq. ft.

kWh/sq. ft.





15 20



5 0







6. Recommendations It is important that Colgate University improves the energy efficiency of its buildings, as there are significant economic and environmental benefits to be had in reducing overall energy consumption. By increasing energy efficiency, Colgate will be able cut down on both short and long run costs and emit fewer greenhouse gases. Below are four recommendations for Colgate that deal with the energy performances of its buildings. These recommendations vary in target goals as well as time scales and costs of implementation. 6a. Importance of Sub-Metering According to the EPA, small liberal arts colleges can "benefit from sub-metering if it forms part of an energy/cost improvement program: the metered data identifies buildings with high energy use and renovation programs follow to bring costs down" (U.S. EPA 2002). Other important lessons pertaining to universities can be taken from this article; through sub-metering universities are able to verify savings from energy improvement projects, identify benefits from system upgrades, and encourage departments to monitor their own energy consumption. If buildings are individually metered, sudden rises in energy uses are quickly noticed and adjustments can be made. Furthermore, by increasing the amount of available information of each building’s energy efficiency, Colgate can target the building’s weaknesses and maximize the benefits. However, sub-metering every building on campus comes at a high price. Colgate's current metering project costs half a million dollars and is only halfway complete (Babich 2009). Currently there are 13 Colgate buildings metered for both electricity and steam that are candidates for a Building Dashboard from the Lucid Design Group (Pumillio 2009). The Lucid Design Group is a company composed of educators, software engineers, and graphic designers that have created a real-time resource monitoring system for buildings called the Building Dashboard (Bellona 2009). The dashboard provides live feedback to building occupants about their current energy and water use. Such real-time energy displays can help build environmental consciousness and ultimately minimize inefficient energy use (Rappaport 2008). Using results from their existing projects, Lucid has found that the dashboard alone has reduced consumption by 10 - 56%. In addition to the Building Dashboard, Lucid is currently looking into a customer programs manager that will focus on sharing the best possible practices among colleges and universities (Bellona 2009). This will inform schools how to best utilize their dashboards while also creating a camaraderie between schools attempting to decrease their consumption and environmental footprints. Installation of the dashboard system varies in price depending on the size of the project as well as the current energy monitoring system in place (Bellona 2009). Average installation costs are between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. All data is hosted by Lucid and is available to school administrations through a web product as well as possible touch screen displays on site at each monitored building. 6b. Retrofits Colgate University has illustrated a growing commitment to reducing its environmental footprint as an elite institution of higher learning. Founded in 1819, many of the academic buildings and dormitories predate modern construction materials and technologies. However, in an attempt to preserve the aesthetic appeal of the campus and minimize rebuilding costs, the university has long depended upon building retrofits. Due to office and residential space


demands on campus, retrofitting also offers the advantage of allowing buildings to remain partially in use while small construction or improvement projects are being done. Especially over the past few decades, the university has utilized up-to-date technology and innovative energy conservation practices to create opportunities to save by reducing wasted heat and electricity within its buildings. In particular, upgrades to the automated HVAC and lighting control systems at the physical plant have led to significant reductions in Colgate's operating costs and carbon footprint (Babich 2009). Although retrofits often require high upfront fixed costs of research, capital, and labor, Colgate must not overlook the diverse benefits of such building upgrades, including long run financial savings and improvements to the academic environment. While regular computer replacements are significant additions to Colgate's educational resources, such benefits are marginalized if students are living and working in inefficient buildings. Student comfort and academic performance are closely linked to the lighting and temperature conditions in which they reside and study (Creighton 1998). Thus, energy efficient retrofits that optimize these learning conditions should be perceived as complements, rather than costs, to the University's educational mission. A retrofitting option suggested by Professor Beth Parks is the installation of window alarms. Installing alarms on dorm room windows that are integrated with the heating control system would eliminate some heating inefficiencies. If a window is opened, an alarm would go off, either silent or audible, triggering the heating system to shut down. The installation of window alarms on all dorm room windows would be incredibly costly because of the number of windows and coordinating them with the heating system would add even more costs. Alternatively, improvements of window sealants reduce drafts and the need to utilize heating. Windows, even while closed, can account for 10 to 25% of the heating costs of a building. For colder climates like Hamilton, double-pane glass windows or low-emissivity windows that are filled with gas can greatly reduce heat loss. The addition of a storm window in the winter can increase this efficiency up to 50% (DOE 2008). Another retrofit option would be to use more energy efficient lights and appliances. A compact fluorescent light bulb will save about $30 over its lifetime and use 75% less energy (Energy Star 2009). Older light fixtures can be major sources of heat loss. New technologies can reduce electricity used for lighting between 39-83% (Creighton 1998). The new Energy Star compact florescent lights, for example, use 75% less energy and can last ten times longer than older models. For all other appliances, many new models are rated on an Energy Star scale to compare their energy use (DOE 2008). A major retrofit would be to install superior insulation in buildings to minimize the energy loss from air infiltration. While this might be costly, improved insulation can drastically reduce energy use and in turn energy costs. Roughly one-third of heating energy is used to heat air infiltrating a building (Trechsel 1977). Insulation helps to control moisture, heating and cooling year round. Different kinds of insulation are manufactured for specific types of buildings and geographic locations across the country (DOE 2008). The last retrofit option to be explored is to improve heating controls in residential buildings. The lack of heating control and distribution are the largest complaints of occupants residing on campus, particularly in the auxiliary buildings. In most of the on-campus dormitories there are thermostats in each room which control the heat. On the other hand, in most auxiliary residence buildings there are only one or two thermostats to control the distribution of heat for the entire facility, often spanning multiple floors and thousands of square feet. In an attempt to


cope with such control inadequacies, students often use their buildings' windows as personal "thermostats." As illustrated by the infrared imaging findings, open dormitory windows cause significant heat loss. Thermal Image 3: West Hall Heat Loss from Open Windows

This problem has led Buildings and Grounds to alter the heating set point for a building based on the number of windows open. Heating demands are largely dependent upon the aspects of an occupant's room and the location of the thermostats in relation to that occupant's room. Additionally, common spaces heavily used by occupants generate significant heat and that may interfere with the effectiveness of thermostats in or near those common spaces. For example, in Sigma Chi there are no thermostats, but only a single temperature sensor located in a common room with a fire place and broken windows. The heating of the entire house is dependent on this sensor which does not accurately represent the temperatures in individual bedrooms. By installing more thermostats and better utilizing the corresponding heating zones, the University can save money from increased efficiency and improve student comfort. However, increasing occupant control must be complemented with education on proper use and the University's expectations. 6c. Building-Specific Occupant Education Although the "greenness" of a building largely depends upon the energy efficiency of its heat and electrical infrastructure, occupant behavior must not be overlooked. Campus energy has become the new tragedy of the commons. Perpetuated by the fact that Colgate pays for the resulting excessive energy use, student energy use behavior remains unchanged year after year. Even with the most up-to-date energy efficient retrofits, students rarely practice conservation behaviors unless given proper instruction and guidance. Over the span of three or four years, Colgate students reside in many different University-owned dormitories and apartments. The heating controls of these buildings differ, particularly between auxiliary buildings and those obtaining their heat from the central plant. In order to minimize Colgate's costs and occupant discomfort, incoming residents should be required to participate in building-specific education programs for their new respective living areas prior to receiving their room keys.


This program would achieve two primary goals: educating the students about how to regulate the heating and cooling for their living spaces, and familiarizing the students with contacts in Buildings and Grounds. Such an orientation program would be best led by either a member of the Buildings and Grounds staff or a residential advisor, as information packets would most likely be overlooked and less effective. In the orientation, select personnel would provide knowledge of where the building’s thermostats are located and how to efficiently use them to regulate the temperature of the building. This would help reduce the current problems of students improperly adjusting their thermostats and opening their windows to regulate their room temperatures. It would also deepen students' understanding of where energy comes from and allow for awareness and greater personal responsibility of heat usage during critical peak usage times. In addition, this occupant education would create familiarity with the individuals on campus who could serve as a resource for domestic information and who could assist with problems that arise. Cultivating relationships between Colgate staff and students develops partnerships for greening Colgate's campus. 6d. Continued Use of the Portfolio Manager As the EPA’s online Portfolio Manager provides a suitable and secure space to aggregate energy data for further analysis in the future, the current information gaps in the account can be eliminated once more recent data is inputted. It is a single source of information regarding all buildings at Colgate and can be accessed from anywhere. Continued use will require labor and time from students or staff to continue to input data, but will create an electronic record of this information which might facilitate collaboration and analysis of past records. The Portfolio Manager is constantly being updated by the EPA to achieve more accurate results. The Energy Star website continues to post announcements of updated equation factors, categories, and many other options every few months. As long as our buildings' energy consumptions are being monitored and documented, there may come a time when buildings like McGregory, which can not be rated due to its unclassifiable use, can be accurately assessed. 7. Conclusion Many of the buildings on Colgate’s campus have efficient energy infrastructures in place and have the potential to run as highly efficient systems. Increasing the amount of available data through sub-metering and encouraging responsible energy consumption by educating occupants can increase our ability to reach maximum efficiency. Operating at this optimal performance level will allow Colgate to fulfill its responsibility to meet the energy demands of the Colgate community in an economically and environmentally conscious manner as well as to follow through with its ACUPCC pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Continued use of the EPA’s Portfolio Manager will help cut operational costs and aid in the university’s mission to inspire environmentally conscious graduates far into the future.


8. Acknowledgments The completion of this project could not have taken place without the help of several people and organizations. We wish to thank Pete Babich, Brian Belden, Carrie McFall and Amy Davidson in the Buildings and Grounds Office. Thanks also to Bruce Scott at the central plant, Dan Partigianoni at the Accounting Office, Professor Beth Parks and Steve Bellona at Hamilton College. Finally, we would like to especially recognize and thank Professor Bob Turner and Professor John Pumilio for their guidance, insight and support throughout the project. Contacts: Pete Babich- Email: [email protected] Associate Director of Facilities and Manager of Engineering Service in the Buildings and Grounds Office, knowledgeable on energy performances of all building at Colgate, specifically helpful with thermal imaging and Day Automation system. Brian Belden- Email: [email protected] Millwright Foreman- knowledgeable on heating systems of all Colgate buildings as well as building construction Steve Bellona- Email: [email protected] Associate Vice President for Facilities and Planning at Hamilton College, knowledgeable about Portfolio Manager, LUCID design and “university greening” Beth Parks- Email: [email protected] Professor of Physics, conducted class project on the insulation and energy efficiency of West Hall Dan Partigianoni- Email: [email protected] Accounting Office, manages all energy receipts John Pumilio- Email: [email protected] Sustainability Coordinator, knowledgeable on everything related to sustainability at Colgate and implementing environmental policy on campus Bruce Scott- Email: [email protected] Boiler Operator, knowledgeable on every aspect of the central plant and wood chip burning process Bob Turner- Email: [email protected] Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, invaluable insight in all areas of project including goal setting, research, data gathering and constructive criticism


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