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University invests $6.2 million in energy-saving physical plant upgrades

11.11.2014 | By:
University invests in $6.2 million dollar energy-saving physical plant upgrades

State-of-the-art irrigation system controls will monitor weather patterns to reduce water waste. Interior and exterior lighting will be replaced with energy-efficient LED lighting.

Texas Wesleyan is undergoing a campus-wide infrastructure development project that promotes environmental stewardship and reduces energy waste.

The $6.2 million project is self-funded and will save the University more than $12 million over the next 15 years.

"Texas Wesleyan is unwavering in its commitment to improve our campus for the benefit of our students, our neighborhood and Fort Worth. Part of that commitment is a responsibility to make environmentally-sound investments that reduce our energy consumption and benefit generations to come," President Frederick G. Slabach said.

Energy savings

The project is expected to save more than 7.2 million kilowatt-hours per year, which is equivalent to saving 5,596 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is the same as removing 1,054 cars from the road or powering 689 homes per year.

The project is also expected to save more than 7.1 million gallons of water per year, which is equivalent to 11 Olympic-size swimming pools or the average annual water use for 79 homes.

"Just saving one gallon of water makes a huge impact," Bruce Benz, Ph.D., professor of biology and creator of Texas Wesleyan’s "Blue + Gold = Green" faculty committee. "Our committee is extremely enthusiastic about these efforts to conserve water and energy."

The "Blue + Gold = Green" committee, comprised of Texas Wesleyan faculty and staff, meets biannually to determine ways the University can be a leader in environmental stewardship.

Facilities solutions

Brian Franks, executive director for facilities development and operations, will oversee the project, which will be implemented by The Way Companies, a private, facilities solutions company based in Houston.

"The facilities team has been working on bringing this project to the table for three years," Franks said. "The groundwork will begin in December and the expected completion date is February 2016."

Energy-saving upgrades include:

  • Utilizing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology for electrical, coooling and heating needs
  • Replacing and upgrading 16 HVAC controls in 16 campus buildings 
  • Installing state-of-the-art irrigation system controls to regulate the use of water throughout the university grounds
  • Improving 1,290 toilets, urinals, faucets and showerheads to conserve and regulate water usage efficiently
  • Upgrading 1,559 interior and exterior lighting fixtures with LED lighting technology
  • Reducing computer power consumption by running computer load management software

The Way Companies has completed similar energy-saving and construction projects at universities across Texas, including the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, Baylor University and Rice University.

"This plan is part of our overall 2020 Vision to enhance our campus and revitalize the community," Slabach said. "The ability to fund this project through the generated savings is remarkable."