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UTSA implements additional energy and water cost-saving initiatives


Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building, UTSA Main Campus

(Photo by Patrick R. Dunn)

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(May 14, 2012) -- Working closely with other UTSA departments, the UTSA Office of Facilities has initiated a multi-pronged effort to reduce energy and water consumption on campus. These reductions provide both economic and environmental benefits.

Cost-containment strategies in the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE) Building -- the biggest energy consumer on the Main Campus -- will have a significant positive impact on energy consumption. UTSA soon will install a bypass on the BSE's primary cooling system that will allow the building's 125-horsepower cooling water pumps to be shut off during periods of low cooling demand.

Because of the BSE's proximity to the South Thermal Energy Plant (STEP) cooling pumps, the BSE will receive sufficient cooling pressure from the STEP during these periods of low cooling demand. Also implemented at the BSE will be an improved control schedule that will reduce the amount of fresh air changes during periods of low occupancy. A building usage evaluation will be conducted to ensure that the most accurate air change settings are implemented. The control sequence will both maximize energy savings and ensure adequate indoor air quality.

The final upgrade at the BSE includes a change in the control points related to dehumidification control. Once implemented, upgrades to the BSE will save the university an estimated $100,000 annually.

Several other UTSA Tri-Campus cost-containment initiatives also are yielding significant cost reductions and some revenue enhancements including:

  • $70,000 annual water savings for installation of synthetic turf at Campus Recreation playing fields on the Main Campus, which is expected to save approximately 14 million gallons of water per year. This project, which was initiated and funded by Campus Recreation, also allowed UTSA to receive a $178,532 conservation rebate from the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).
  • $45,000 annual energy savings from lighting upgrades at the Monterey Building at the Downtown Campus slated to take place in 2012 (annual reduction of 450 tons of CO2)
  • $38,000 annual savings from a new waste disposal contract
  • $29,000 annual energy savings from installation of solar panels at the University Center, Engineering Building and Downtown Campus (annual reduction of 300 tons of CO2). These grant-funded projects also have allowed UTSA to qualify for more than $480,000 in energy conservation rebates from CPS Energy.
  • $16,000 annual savings for a new fire monitoring connection at the Downtown and Hemisfair Park campuses
  • $5,000 annual energy savings for installation of LED lights at the Hemisfair Park Campus (annual reduction of 50 tons of CO2)
  • $4,000 annual savings for the Applied Engineering and Technology Building (Main Campus) cooling-coil water reclamation (800,000 gallons of water saved annually)

"Energy and water conservation are ongoing priorities for the university, and we recognize these efforts can be disruptive at times," said Kerry Kennedy, UTSA vice president for business affairs. "We appreciate the patience of faculty, staff and students as we make campus facilities more efficient, improve the institution's bottom line and help reduce our impact on the environment."

For more information, contact UTSA Facilities Work Control at 210-458-4262.




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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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