Three buildings on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus earned recognition for reducing energy in 2018 through a statewide competition hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan.
U-M buildings earned awards in the following areas:
- The Carl A. Gerstacker Building placed first in the water category with a 53 percent reduction in water consumption.
- Weill Hall placed second in the education category with an 11 percent energy reduction.
- Medical Sciences II placed second in the “other” category with an 8 percent energy reduction.
“It’s great to see the impact that proactive facility managers and occupants can have on energy use in their buildings,” says Matt Peterson, regional energy manager for Weill Hall. “No matter how small or large individual efforts may be, the efforts add up to real savings when an entire building is involved.”
The energy reduction at Weill can largely be attributed to engagement of building occupants, who have been proactive about turning off lights and understanding thermostat settings. Adjustments to the cooling schedule for areas that are unoccupied over the summer also contributed to the reduction.
Water use reduction at the Carl A. Gerstacker Building was achieved by connecting the building to U-M’s centralized chilled water plant in place of a piece of equipment that uses water inefficiently. The treatment and distribution of water require a significant amount of energy, so reducing water use saves energy.
Medical Sciences II achieved its reduction through multiple projects to identify and eliminate sources of energy waste.
“Active energy management is key,” says Erik Boyer, regional energy manager for Medical School buildings. “It is a continual improvement process of finding and fixing equipment failures, optimizing building operations, installing new technology and engaging building occupants to reduce energy.”
The Office of Campus Sustainability Energy Management Program works closely with facility managers across U-M to improve the energy efficiency of campus buildings.
“It’s really satisfying to see an outside organization like the West Michigan Chapter of the USGBC recognize the work we’ve been doing,” says Mark Sedmak, associate director of Engineering Services at Medical School Facilities. “Much of this happens behind the scenes and isn’t readily obvious to our building occupants.”
The work to reduce building energy directly supports the university’s broader commitment to sustainability, known as Planet Blue, and its 2025 goals in the areas of climate action and community engagement.
The 2018 winners were honored at the Michigan Energy Summit in Grand Rapids on April 25, where Kim Siefert and Steve Kunselman of Energy Management accepted the recognition on behalf of the university.
This is the third consecutive year that U-M has been recognized in the competition.