A new policy on energy efficiency was approved by OCCC’s Board of Regents during their monthly meeting Aug. 20, said Business and Finance Vice President John Boyd.
Boyd said the policy is in place to reiterate the necessity of being energy efficient and conscientious in an effort to save energy costs as required under the new legislation signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, as set forth by SB 1096.
“OCCC has always been energy efficient and energy conscientious,” Boyd said. “We have simply created a policy to align with the legislation.”
The bill specifies that beginning with fiscal year 2013 and ending with fiscal year 2020, there must be a 20-percent energy savings in all state facilities. Boyd said the policy is an effort on the part of the college to let the community, students, staff and employees know the board that governs OCCC is serious about energy conservation.
Facilities Management Director J.B. Messer said OCCC was green “before green was a word.”
According to a PowerPoint presentation Messer organized with Trane’s District Manager Trey Fruge, between 1999 and 2009 there has been a 25.8 percent decrease in energy consumption campuswide. At the current electric utility rates, that equates to roughly $127,000 OCCC is saving annually.
Taking into account that this projection only includes electricity, Boyd said he believes a 20-percent energy savings is very attainable.
“I think our total utility cost — gas, water, sewage and electric — is a little over $1.7 million [a year],” Boyd said. “When you think about over one million square feet, that’s not bad.
“If you take 20 percent of that, that’s [between] $340,000, $350,000. That is around $45,000 a year [in savings].”
Fallin approved the legislation on May 8, but Boyd said he believes it officially became effective Aug. 23.
“We jumped on this the moment our president emailed us saying,‘I am going to communicate to Governor Fallin our support for this effort and I want to ascertain that I have your support.’,” Boyd said.
OCCC officials had heard of the energy conservation efforts Oklahoma State University had implemented and already seen a latge savings from, so Boyd said a meeting was set up with the OSU facility management team.
“Myself, J.B. Messer and Chris Snow drove up there to have a meeting with them,” Boyd said. “We didn’t let any dust settle on this.”
He said the strategic opportunities OCCC is working on and will continue to work on include new construction, renovations, system upgrades, and training and research, according to the presentation.
“We have the Trane Tracer System,” Boyd said. “That system allows us to centralize through computers all of our HVAC systems, so we can sit at a computer and we can tell where we have a situation or circumstance in our system. We can also control our energy usage through that.”
Boyd said OCCC has a chiller system in which water is heated and cooled.
“We cool our water down at night so that we’ll be ready to cool the next day,” he said.
Along with the chiller system, Boyd said, other energy efficiency efforts include two recently purchased hybrid vehicles that are gas and electric, and replacement of the former lightballasts to more efficient ones, according to the PowerPoint.
“We can’t just go out and replace everything,” Boyd said.
Boyd is confident in OCCC’s efforts to save on energy costs, but is also realistic when looking at the big picture. “I think we are way ahead of other campuses, but I think all educational institutions have been very conscientious of this,” Boyd said.
He said it may be tough for institutions such as OCCC that have already implemented energy-saving plans they won’t get credit for to achieve an additional 20 percent figure over the next eight years.
“There’s more to come,” Boyd said. “It’s going to evolve as we go.”
“I take great pride because we are very proactive. We believe we will achieve this 20-percent savings. I don’t have any doubt that we will achieve it. I think we will exceed it.”