With its global outlook, practical idealism and a passion for public service, American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. attracts civic-minded students from all over the world.
AU’s Bender Arena hosts sporting events, concerts, commencement exercises and seats about 5500 people. Previously, the 300,000 square foot facility was lit with inefficient metal halide lamps that took significant time to turn on and did not have effective lighting controls. Through its partnership, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) reviewed new lighting and control proposals and helped AU identify the most cost-effective efficiency measures. AU replaced 1,000 metal halide lamps with high-performance T5 fluorescent lights and installed controls with remote software programmed to turn off lights when the arena is not in use. These measures cut energy use by more than 350 MWh a year, totaling more than $50,000 in savings annually. The high efficiency lighting system does not produce as much heat as the old halides, and has significantly reduced the cooling necessary when the gym is in use.
AU’s energy efficiency approach starts with senior-level commitment and includes efficiency retrofits, retro- and ongoing- commissioning, and preventative maintenance. AU has worked closely with the DC SEU to prioritize efficiency upgrades. The college is currently working with the DC SEU to upgrade lighting in three parking garages to energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and make HVAC improvements to the AU Library. “The DC SEU has really, really helped contribute to making this viable for us to start developing these opportunities and start moving forward with a plan,” said David Osborne, AU’s Director of Energy and Engineering.
The university’s Climate Action Plan calls for reducing consumption, producing renewable energy onsite, sourcing 100 percent wind power and offsetting all remaining emissions. AU has committed to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2020. Students assist with this effort as part of their coursework for green building classes, giving them hands-on project experience that can be applied toward LEED-accredited professional certification. AU even gives sustainability tours highlighting campus efficiency projects.
It all adds up to an A+ for a university that proudly promotes itself as one of the greenest college campuses in the nation.
|Annual Energy Savings (kwh/yr):||397,304|
|Total Savings ($):||$51,757|
|Total Project Cost:||$87,545|