Trustees approve first energy conservation projects

Capital improvements will be powered by Ohio State’s innovative public-private partnership

Feb. 5, 2018 -- Energy conservation measures will improve lighting at dozens of campus buildings and create a more efficient heating and cooling system for a campus laboratory building through capital projects to be launched this spring.

These energy efficiency projects and four other capital improvement projects related to the Comprehensive Energy Management Project were approved by the Board of Trustees on Feb 2.

In July, Ohio State entered a 50-year partnership with Ohio State Energy Partners to manage the university’s energy system and improve the sustainability of the Columbus campus. The $1.165 billion agreement represents the largest investment in the university’s academic mission.

As part of this innovative public-private partnership, Ohio State Energy Partners has committed to improve the energy efficiency of the Columbus campus by at least 25 percent within 10 years. That target is one of the university’s sustainability goals.

The two proposals approved by the Board of Trustees represent the first major energy conservation measures under the new relationship:

  • The $3.4 million lighting project will upgrade the interior lighting in 51 campus buildings, including Fisher Hall, Independence Hall, Jesse Owens Recreation Center, Ohio Stadium, University Hall, Dreese Laboratory, to LED technology. In all, the project will upgrade more than 50,000 lights.
  • Dreese also will receive a $2.3 million upgrade of its heating and cooling systems, a project projected to reduce energy consumption in the building by 37 percent. The project includes supplementing existing chillers and cooling towers with a new heat recovery chiller, pumps and hydronic system modifications, HVAC control upgrades, and insulation of steam valves and fittings.

Under the university’s energy partnership, Ohio State Energy Partners will provide the capital funding for these projects and other capital improvements related to the university’s utility system. Beyond the energy conservation projects, the Board also approved four other capital projects to maintain Ohio State’s energy system. They involve:

  • upgrading the university’s natural gas system
  • modernizing the controls and safety systems at McCracken Power Plant
  • utility improvements at the Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza
  • design of infrastructure upgrades along College Avenue.

Collectively, these four projects will cost Ohio State Energy Partners $8.7 million.

The university’s Energy Advisory Committee is reviewing a 5-year plan that will be presented to the board at a future meeting. This plan will include Ohio State Energy Partners’ proposals for operations, energy conservation projects and other capital improvements needed to upgrade and maintain the university’s energy system.