Applying its innovative academic reputation to innovative efficiency strategies helped Valencia College cut its energy consumption in half since 2008. These outstanding results earned the Orlando-based college the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) September Triple E Award – for energy efficiency efforts.
“The PSC applauds Valencia College’s Facilities and Sustainability Department for their energy-saving initiatives,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “The college implemented LEED building standards, installed high efficiency mechanical systems, and built energy conservation into its culture, and it’s really translated into savings.”
Even with a growing campus over the past eight years, Valencia College continues to reduce its energy consumption by introducing high efficiency chillers, building automation upgrades, and high performance buildings. In 2005-2006, before its efficiency efforts, Valencia’s average energy use was 27.94 kWh per square foot. Ten years later, the college’s energy use is averaging 14.39 kWh per square foot—an energy savings of almost 50 percent.
“Change in energy use begins with individual habits,” said Robert Hickman, Valencia College Operations Manager, Energy Efficiency. “We were striving to accomplish more, so the College employed a behavioral change vendor. Their focus on equipment audits, utility studies, temperature set-points, and shut-down optimization helped change the attitude of faculty, staff, and students toward energy waste.”
In 2008, the College also began efforts to reduced water consumption by using low flow faucets, dual flush closets, xeriscaping, and a new HVAC water treatment technology. During a five-year study, the new treatment system helped reduce water consumption by 9.5 million gallons each year, from an annual average of 25.9 million gallons to 16.5 million gallons. “The system saves water by using high cycles and saves energy by helping to maintain the design performance of our chillers,” Hickman added.
Covering the state’s five major geographic areas, each month the PSC presents its Triple E Award to a local business that has accomplished superior energy efficiency. Look for past Triple E Award recipients under Hot Topics on the PSC’s homepage, www.floridapsc.com. The PSC encourages cost-effective conservation and renewable energy to reduce the use of fossil fuels and defer the need for new generating capacity through the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act.
About Valencia College
Valencia College is one of 28 colleges in the Florida College System. VC has 6 different campuses and serves approximately 70,000 students in the Orlando Area. Founded in 1967 as a Junior College, the Board changed the name to Valencia College in 2010 because the academic scope changed to include bachelor degrees. In 2011, Valencia College was named “The Best Community College in the Nation” by the Aspen Institute. VC has also garnered recognition from its “DirectConnect to UCF.” Since 2006, more than 45,000 students have been guaranteed acceptance to the University of Central Florida. For more information, visit www.ValenciaCollege.edu.
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