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NMSU energy service contract work to begin Aug. 4

Date: 08/01/2014

Work begins Aug. 4 on New Mexico State University?s energy performance contract with Ameresco, an energy services company hired to help the university find energy-saving measures beyond those already in place.

Two people look at an airflow vent in a mechanical room.
Matt Baker and Chelsea Wolfman, both from Ameresco, examine airflow in a Science Hall mechanical room as part of the investment grade audit Ameresco performed at all NMSU facilities around the state in spring 2013. (Photo by joni newcomer)

Around the country, energy use is increasing and utility bills are growing larger and more unaffordable, especially for colleges and universities with hundreds of buildings on campus ? but not at NMSU.

In the past year, NMSU?s utility bills have steadily dropped, in large part due to energy efficiency upgrades made with existing building renewal and refurbishment funding, such as lighting retrofits and the addition of the satellite chilled water facility, which came online in September 2012. The facility produces cooling capacity for the campus by making ice at night when the campus has lower electricity rates, then uses that ice to cool the campus during the day, when rates are much higher.

All energy performance contract-related work will be labeled with a ?We CARE? logo, so the campus community can see the work and follow progress reports via http://facilities.nmsu.edu/we-care/.

CARE, an acronym created by the NMSU Ameresco team, stands for ?conserving and reducing energy.?

?This logo will give people an awareness that the construction work will be happening in their building. Since the work will be happening mostly between 4 p.m. and 6 a.m., most people won?t see the workers, but we want people to know that work is happening in their building,? said joni newcomer, manager of the NMSU Office of Sustainability. ?The logo also will serve to remind people that we, as a university, are conserving and reducing energy use.?

The first project, a lighting retrofit of Branson Library, is scheduled to begin Aug. 4.

?NMSU will be making energy upgrades and retrofits in 45 buildings across the main campus. You will see new lighting to improve NMSU?s energy efficiency and to help hold utility costs down,? said NMSU Associate Vice President for Facilities Glen Haubold. ?The first building will be Branson. If you?ve ever walked or driven around the Hadley Horseshoe after sunset or in the early morning, you?ll know why it?s the first one,? he added, referring to the large number of lights in the building.

The energy conservation measures the NMSU-Ameresco contract will address include interior lighting, exterior lighting, exterior pole-mounted lighting, retro commissioning, variable air volume retrofits, economizer upgrades and chilled water pump bypasses. All of these improvements serve to operate NMSU?s mechanical and lighting systems in a more efficient manner.

The guaranteed cash flow savings of the projects will generate sufficient savings to cover the full debt service along with other expenses related to the project. At the end of the 13-year performance period, the university will realize a projected $1.8 million in annual savings.

The construction schedule for the first four buildings, along with information about what to expect during the project, is available at http://facilities.nmsu.edu/we-care/.

Written by Emily C. Kelley



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