Oklahoma City University Energy Savings Plan Produces Powerful Results
Oklahoma City University has implemented an energy savings plan that well exceeds Gov. Mary Fallin’s newly-signed energy efficiency law and accounted for substantial savings since bringing its physical plant operations back in house five years ago.
Senate Bill 1096 calls for higher education institutions and state agencies to improve their energy efficiency and energy conservation measures 20 percent by 2020. Oklahoma City University has cut average monthly energy use by 8 percent since 2010 and expects to improve efficiency another 20 percent by 2017, said Jeff Castleberry, director of facilities.
The university’s energy saving measures, which have included installing high efficiency lighting and photosensors to keep lights off when spaces are not in use, have netted $40,000 in rebates from OGE.
Mark Clouse, associate director of facilities at Oklahoma City University, said efforts to bring the university’s heating and cooling system to peak efficiency have resulted in significant energy improvements. During four months of the year, the air system runs off of free cooling, an efficient method of using low external air temperatures for cooling.
OCU currently is partnering with Tim Wilcox, an energy expert and leading authority on ice storage, to upgrade the university’s ice storage equipment with a system that will nearly eliminate the use of electricity for cooling during peak hours through the entire summer. Castleberry said this will increase energy efficiency for cooling by 50 percent.
“We will be using all new technology,” Castleberry said. “There is not anything else in the world like it.”
Castleberry said OCU’s partnerships with Wilcox, THG Energy, OGE, Eaton, and others have put the university on the leading edge of energy savings initiatives.
* The OCU Facilities Department employs 17 licensed craftsmen.
* The department recycled 25,000 pounds of paper during the last three months.
* The university’s current thermal storage system has cut energy use for cooling by 20 percent. Future improvements to the system will increase efficiency another 50 percent.