University of Utah Cuts Building Energy Waste

September 10, 2014

Recognized for its participation in the Energy Department's Better Buildings Challenge, the University of Utah has reduced the energy use of a historic campus building by 40%. The 42-year-old Dumke Health Professions Education Building was selected as the state's first Better Buildings Showcase project and chosen because of its historical significance, continued importance to the university, and the inefficiencies in its obsolete heating and cooling systems. 

Almost half of the building space is taken up by high energy use labs and walk-in refrigerators, with the rest functioning as classrooms, offices, and clinic space. The university focused on replacing antiquated or faulty DDC controls, upgrading two boilers to high efficiency models, and implementing the use of premium efficiency motors and variable frequency drives for relief fans, air handlers, and pumps. Cumulatively, the facility upgrades were able to reduce energy consumption by 195 kBtu per square-foot, which is estimated to save the university $57,000 per year. With the upgrades completed, the building is on track to meet its energy efficiency goals and help Utah reach the campus-wide goal of reducing energy use 20% over 14 million square-feet of building space by 2020. 

"The university's efforts showcase strategies that can be replicated at similar buildings, institutions, and facilities across America," says Dave Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Energy Department. 

Wondering if your heating and cooling systems make the grade? Take a look at Air Leakage Testing: A Hot Button or Hot Air? to see if you could be leaving big energy savings on the table.