Florida State University
Florida State University’s energy-efficient facilities foster excellence in education
At a Glance
- $8.5 million — Projected savings under a performance contract between FSU and Johnson Controls over a 10-year period.
- 2 years — Amount of time the project finished ahead of schedule, exceeding utility savings goals by $2.5 million.
- $230,000 — Additional annual savings through energy and water conservation measures in the University’s 18 dormitories.
The challenge: Providing first-class learning facilities with limited public funding
Excellence in higher education is the goal of every college or university. Florida State University (FSU) is no exception. Its administrators and faculty strive for excellence in all their academic programs. Beyond that, they want to be recognized as a top public research institution. But excellence requires more than a first-rate faculty and a motivated student body. FSU has both. What they needed were classrooms and facilities that were most conducive to learning, productive research, and a high quality of campus life. Improving a university’s building efficiency takes money, and as a public institution, FSU has only so much available from the state and there are limits on how much it can charge for tuition. What was needed was another way to finance facility improvements.
The solution: Producing energy and operational savings to fund campus improvements
The answer to FSU’s dilemma was to significantly reduce energy and operational costs and use the savings to finance the University’s sustainability improvements. Based on its experience in performance contracting and track record helping other educational institutions, Johnson Controls was selected by Florida State to work on a broad range of projects under a 10-year performance contract. That was back in 1997. Johnson Controls’ first step was to conduct a study of the campus to identify the buildings that consumed the most energy and devise a plan to reduce consumption and lower energy costs, not just in those buildings, but campus-wide. The performance contract contained guarantees designed to save the University $8.5 million in utility bills over the life of the contract. The company did so well that FSU extended the contract another 20 years under amended legislation in 2005, with projected energy savings of an additional $1.2 million.
Johnson Controls achieved these savings with a multi-faceted approach to efficiency and conservation that included:
- mechanical upgrades including heat recovery devices on air handlers, variable speed drives, and steam system retrofits.
- upgrading a number of control systems including new C02 sensors that control how much air is taken in from the outside and how much energy is used to heat or cool that air.
- installing occupancy sensors that turn off lighting and adjust the temperature when classrooms are empty.
- retrofitting lighting with more energy-efficient lamps and fixtures.
- upgrading plumbing fixtures to conserve water and reduce sewage.
The company also worked with FSU to create an energy awareness program called “Toward a Sustainable Campus” designed to make students and staff more informed about – and involved in – energy conservation initiatives.
Results and benefits
Under the original performance contract, which targeted $8.5 million in savings over the 10-year contract term, FSU reached its savings goal two years ahead of schedule and exceeded the savings goal by $2.5 million. Johnson Controls and FSU jointly uncovered more savings opportunities throughout the University’s 18 dormitories where lighting retrofits and water conservation measures generated an additional $230,000 in annual savings. Finally, as a result of the energy awareness program, students, faculty, and staff are much more knowledgeable about how to save energy and water and make their surroundings more eco-friendly.
By contracting with Johnson Controls, we were able to get these projects done sooner and without capital outlay -- not to mention the positive impact on the environment by more quickly reducing our energy consumption.
– Dennis Bailey, Associate Vice President for Facilities, Florida State University