This summer two retro-commission technicians began to examine older buildings on campus to find ways to cut gas, electrical and cooling consumption.
Their projects began with Carey and Merrill Halls, which were completed about a month ago. Central Michigan University will save $4,300 a year from Carey Hall and another $10,000 a year from Merrill Hall on manual operating costs, said Mike Walton, director of energy consumption.
“There’s a bigger payback because energy costs are so high all over the U.S.,” Walton said.
Next on the list for the technicians is Robinson Residential Restaurant, said Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management.
“By doing this, we bring back the initial design of the equipment being used,” Walton said. “We’re finding out there’s a lot of equipment that hasn’t been looked over since it was first installed.”
The two men, Brian Spangler and Phil McCrory, were hired July 1.
Spangler has worked with the university for over a decade now and was hired internally. McCrory came in with experience, having done retro-commissions for firms across the U.S.
They’re pretty much energy commandos, Walton said.
“It’s something I noticed would benefit the university,” Walton said. “I’ve done a lot of research over the years and have also been talking with other universities. It’s been a fairly good investment.”
The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are a few of the in-state universities that have been active in retro-commissioning, Walton said.
“Retro-commissioning has taken off in other universities over the years,” Walton said. “It is something that is not very new, but hasn’t been around for long either.”
In the future, Walton said he hopes to get some students involved as well to assist with retro-commissioning.
“Our lights are on a lot, except during quiet hours,” said Chesterfield sophomore Floyd Foster, who lives in Merrill. “I think it’s a good step toward saving energy.”