Delta College, MI Energy Conservation Measures

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Delta College, MI, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

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YESTERDAY'S PROJECTS...Impacting Tomorrow!
As technology has advanced, sustainable energy practices have become more viable and cost effective. At Delta College, we've incorporated conservation initiatives into building and renovation projects designed to save energy while improving comfort for building occupants.

Auto-Flush Toilets: Auto-flush toilets, flushing automatically once the user has left, conserve water while promoting health and safety.

Chilled Water System: (1993) Providing air conditioning during summer daytime hours is the largest single contributor to utility 'peak' demand charges. The installation of a chilled water system in 1993 has proved a load-shifting method which has significantly lowered demand charges and, therefore, operating and energy costs. The system produces solid ice at night during 'off-peak' utility periods when the building's electrical needs are minimal. The ice is stored in tanks to provide cooling to help meet the building's cooling comfort the following day.

Energy Management System: An energy management system is programmed to automatically turn off heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems and lighting during unoccupied hours.

Heat Recovery Systems: Heat recovery systems were built into the Science Wing, the Auto Service Center, and the Pool area during Renovation II. This initiative allows the discharge of warm air, formerly allowed to leave the building, to be recaptured into the make-up air units through heat recovery coils. By reintroducing the heat back into the building, energy is conserved by less temperature loss.

Lighting: In the past couple of years, several energy saving initiatives were incorporated into the classroom, office, and campus open space as part of building renovations. Sustainable practices save energy while upgrading both the work and learning environments.

  • Former office ceiling lighting, whose material content was considered hazardous, has been replaced with low mercury fluorescent lamps. When a low mercury lamp burns out or is routinely replaced, the lamp can simply go in the trash thus saving the high cost of hazardous waste disposal. Look for the 'green cap' on either end of the lamp in your office.
  • Using the sockets already available in the utility tunnels, 100 watt incandescent lighting was replaced with 23 watt fluorescent bulbs. The new bulbs not only save power, 75% less energy, they have a longer useful life, as well.
  • Light fixtures in many general campus areas have been switched from T12 fluorescents light fixtures to T8's with electronic ballasts. T8's provide a higher light output with less wattage--thereby saving energy.
  • Light sensors have been installed in many classrooms, offices, and corridors with plans for complete installation throughout campus. Occupancy sensors in all new classrooms & offices ensure lights are on only when someone is in a room. In windowed, corridor areas, photocell sensors record light levels to automatically shut off lights when incoming natural light meets minimum lighting levels.
  • The Energy Management system is automatically timed to turn lighting off during unoccupied hours, yet provide lighting override switches for custodial staff.

Soft Start Motors: Induction motors were fitted with 'soft starters', reduced-voltage starters, which require less electricity to start operating. Because the motor starts slower (i.e., softer), there is less wear and, therefore, less consumption of the belts, bearings, and other material components.

Variable Air Volume System: During recent building renovations, a number of Constant-Volume Reheat systems were upgraded to Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems. The former system required supply and return fan motors to run at full load continuously. The VAV system applies only the amount of air flow and temperature to a space as needed based on occupancy or usage. The result is a substantial reduction in energy use.

Variable Frequency Drives: Motor-driven systems, in which loads vary with time, were fitted with variable frequency drives (VFD). A VFD allows for improved continuous process speed control and energy saving. Additionally, VFDs provide lower maintenance costs since lower operating speeds result in longer life for bearings and motors.

Vestibules: A standard campus building design is the vestibule in building entrances. By creating a secondary air space at a doorway, vestibules reduce air inflow while the primary door is open. Vestibules save building energy by reducing the loss of warm air in winter and cooled in summer.

Windows: Argon low-E (energy) panel insulated windows replaced single-glazed, operable windows. Low-E glass coatings reflect up to 90% of long-wave heat energy while allowing shorter wave and visible light to pass. Longer wave heat is reflected, keeping summer heat out; in winter, shorter wavelength is reflected to the interior. Combining Low-E coatings with low-conductance gas such as argon (a safe, inert gas) boosts energy efficiency by nearly 100% over clear glass. Energy-efficient windows save money each and every month.

Renewable Fuels: Rather than continue dependency on traditional fossil fuels such as gas and oil for heating, Facilities Management is researching renewable sources such as wood chips, wood pellets, sawdust, and corn rather than tradition. Renewable fuels improve air quality, reduced emissions, and more stable procurement prices.

Solar Array: Solar electrical power has great potential for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Thanks to a $50,000 grant by the Michigan Department of Energy, Delta College is taking the lead to make the alternative energy source more visible, understandable, and acceptable as an energy resource. In 2006, the college received the go-ahead to begin developing a Large Scale Solar Photo-Voltaic Demonstration Project to be installed on the roof of the Technical Trades & Manufacturing wing. The 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array will be used as an educational resource to demonstrate the feasibility of solar generated electricity and to reduce campus electrical usage from the power grid. The solar panels will produce an estimated 10 kilowatts per hour; putting that in perspective, campus usage is 1,000 to 3,400 kilowatts per hour. The solar array will be utilized in a number of programs including Physics, Architectural Technology, Electronics, Engineering, Residential Construction, Skilled Trades, and Refrigeration/Heating/Cooling. The project is slated for completion in June 2007.


  • To purchase future electrical power from renewable sources