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Queens University of Charlotte cuts annual energy costs by $190,000

Through LED lighting, new chillers, water efficiency measures and an updated Building Automation System, Queens University of Charlotte significantly reduced their energy costs, with no up-front investment.

1,444

tons in annual CO2 savings

$190K
annual energy cost savings
15
year Energy-as-a-Service agreement

Founded in 1857, Queens University of Charlotte is a private, coed masters-level university, nestled in the historic neighborhood of Myers Park, just minutes from uptown Charlotte, NC. With a student population of more than 2,500, the university focuses on delivering collaborative learning experiences that prepare individuals for purposeful and fulfilling lives.

Many of their buildings were equipped with aged and inefficient building controls, chillers, lighting, and water fixtures, which negatively impacted the efficiency, comfort, and sustainability of their campus. They looked for a partner who could reduce energy costs across their facilities, maintain and improve the existing environment within each building; and provide improved operational control over their equipment and systems – without adversely impacting their balance sheet.

Queens University of Charlotte partnered with Centrica Business Solutions and Metrus Energy to make energy systems upgrades across 25 campus buildings. After completing a comprehensive investment grade audit of their site to understand the scope of work, a number of areas were identified which would significantly improve the efficiency of the site: LED lighting, new chillers, water-efficiency measures, and an updated Building Automation System.

Significantly improving energy efficiency

The interior and exterior lighting across their buildings included inefficient T8 fluorescent, compact fluorescent, incandescent, and High-Intensity Discharge fixtures. These fixtures were replaced with LED technology, which uses around 50% less electricity than traditional options, delivering significant cost savings. What’s more, since quality LEDs have a long lifespan of 30,000-50,000 hours, further cost savings were delivered in the reduced maintenance costs. In addition, occupancy sensors were also installed in select areas to shut off lights when spaces are unoccupied automatically.

Three of their buildings each had a single air-cooled chiller, which had reached the end of life and needed replacement. Replacing these with new units increased efficiency from an average Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 8.24 in the old chillers to 10.53 in the replacements. Additional maintenance savings were also achieved, based on the costs of continuing to replace the compressors and condenser fans in the old units. The university also had 240 water fixtures located across 16 buildings, and making upgrades here achieved a reduction in water consumption, alongside hot water thermal savings.

Enhanced control

The aged Building Automation System used across the university didn’t provide them with sufficient control over their energy infrastructure. In some circumstances, manual overrides were required to maintain occupant comfort at the expense of energy efficiency. It also did not provide them with detailed insight into energy consumption or provide alerts when issues occurred. In addition, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement parts.

Centrica Business Solutions replaced the outdated controls system with a new IP-based Building Automated System, with remote access capabilities. This enabled them to monitor equipment in real-time and detect inefficiencies before they became a problem. It also gave them the ability to set a simple, efficient heating and cooling schedule for each area of their campus, which could be easily overridden if occupancy changed. This provided them with increased control over their energy usage, which in turn, delivered greater energy efficiency and lower operating and maintenance costs.

It was exciting to watch the transformation of our campus with the installation of state-of-the art equipment that will increase our efficiency and resiliency. More than just savings, these upgrades reflect our values as a school and a community, and our belief in a sustainable energy future
Troy Luttman Campus Architect at Queens University

Turnkey approach

Harnessing a turnkey approach, Centrica Business Solutions guaranteed the quality of the engineering and construction works, alongside the long-term performance of the upgrades. Each year, comprehensive reviews are conducted to ensure all equipment is operating correctly and that all savings are being realized as they should.

The program was underpinned by a 15-year Energy-as-a- Service agreement provided by Metrus Energy, which shifted all implementation and asset ownership costs to Metrus Energy. This meant that Queens University of Charlotte did not have to make any capital investment, and the guaranteed savings that were delivered through the upgrades paid for the cost of the program.

Improved energy efficiency

By transforming the campus with LED lighting, new chillers, water efficiency measures, and an updated Building Automation System, Queens University of Charlotte has significantly reduced their energy consumption, which will reduce their annual energy costs by $190,000.

These turnkey improvements have also provided the university with the opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce harmful environmental impacts by reducing CO2 consumption by 1,444 tons annually.