Two buildings on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus were leaders in reduced energy consumption in 2017, compared with competing buildings across the state.
The School of Public Health II building and the Angell Complex, including Angell and Tisch halls, led the education category in the Michigan Battle of the Buildings, a program that recognizes buildings with the greatest energy reduction during the calendar year.
“We value the recognition of our team’s work to support the university’s sustainability goal to reduce carbon emissions,” says Kevin Morgan, manager of the Energy Management team within the Office of Campus Sustainability.
“Often times, our work goes unnoticed, by design. A successful energy conservation project in a campus building is one that goes unnoticed, reducing energy consumption while no changes to the building are perceived by occupants,” Morgan says.
Using utility data that is adjusted for fluctuations in weather, the program ranks the annual energy reduction of buildings competing in nine categories including entertainment, health care, education and public buildings.
The School of Public Health II building experienced a 34 percent reduction in energy, the largest reduction of any building in the 2017 competition.
Multiple projects led to the achievement, including lamp and LED upgrades, yearly steam trap testing and insulation upgrades, says U-M Regional Energy Manager Andy Cieslinski.
Cieslinski notes that OCS and Energy Management have conducted different outreach campaigns over the past few years to get building occupants more engaged in sustainable behaviors.
“This recognition comes at a great time because we have recently revamped our outreach program with new distribution materials with sustainable actions and best practices noted on posters, magnets, stickers and even digital signage across campus,” Cieslinski says. “We also refreshed the look of our building energy data webpage to make it more user friendly.”
Cieslinski also notes a few easy ways to be mindful of how utilities and resources are used.
“From electricity to paper, do your best to reduce your usage. Remember to turn things off, close windows and keep thermostats set between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Conservation efforts in the Angell Complex resulted in a 22 percent energy reduction.
“In the Angell Hall complex, the success can’t be attributed to one large project, but instead a series of methodical and intentional efforts,” Morgan says. “These efforts included energy projects, behavioral change, operational changes and work done by facilities maintenance, which as a whole delivered these positive results.”
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 2017 winners were honored at the Michigan Energy Summit in Grand Rapids on April 18, where Morgan and Cieslinski joined Connor Flynn, energy engineer, and Jimmie Kennedy, facility manager at the School of Public Health, to accept the recognition on behalf of the university.