With a little bit of help from a $6.7 million award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a newly formed Energy Conservation Team, Georgia Tech Facilities is taking on the challenge of improving energy efficiency on campus.
The focus of the team, which is lead by Michael Leasure, assistant director of energy conservation, is to ensure that the electrical and mechanical facilities at Tech consume less energy.
“Energy management has been a facet of facilities for about 10 years,” said Warren Page, senior director of facilities and operations. “We thought it was time to increase our focus on this by creating a team concerned with energy conservation. Mike was given the OK to start building the team in May.”
The ARRA funding will support projects to improve motor efficiency, pipe insulation and lighting in almost every building on campus. All projects are slated to be completed by April 2012.
The first project the team is tackling is motor efficiency. The goal is to install variable frequency drives (VFDs) in the numerous motors found on fans, pumps and compressors in campus buildings.
“For example, a VFD might be used in a fan on an air conditioning unit,” Leasure said. “If the motor frequency is reduced, the motor and fan will slow down, decreasing the air volume moving through the ductwork when not needed and decreasing the overall power demand.”
With the improvements, Tech will save an estimated $440,000 a year over 5.8 years, Leasure added. The equipment driven by the motors will be turned off to install the VFDs, but Tech employees won’t notice the outages, Leasure said.
The motor improvements should be completed by December.
To learn more about this project or the Energy Conservation Team, contact Leasure.
Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series of pieces about the projects the Energy Conservation Team is tackling. Stay tuned to learn about how the team will be improving pipe insulation on campus.