Coastal Carolina University has partnered with state-owned utility Santee Cooper to implement the latest energy efficient technology at the newly renovated Coastal Science Center, located on its extended campus in the Atlantic Center for Business and Industry near Conway.
The enhanced facility is being unveiled today on Campus Sustainable Day, a day encouraging universities nationwide to recognize the role higher education can play in the sustainability of our natural resources. Sustainability is defined as development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
These state-of-the-art technologies, such as an air-to-air energy recovery unit and occupancy sensors, were a result of a proposal to Santee Cooper. The collaborative effort will result in estimated energy savings of approximately $76,400 annually. The total spent for the improvements is $216,455 and will be funded through a grant from Santee Cooper to the university.
"On this third annual Campus Sustainability Day it is fitting that we dedicate this newly renovated facility which demonstrates how we can actively and purposefully manage our energy resources. The result is both current and future reduction of natural resources and a lessened impact on the environment," said Ron Ingle, president of Coastal Carolina University. Ingle continued, "This partnership with Santee Cooper to practice good stewardship makes sense for this university, the community and the students and faculty who will use this facility."
Bill McCall, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Santee Cooper, said "Santee Cooper works hard to be a good corporate citizen, giving back to the communities we serve. Working with Coastal is another opportunity to support the community through innovative ways to conserve our natural resources, reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources and engage in environmentally-friendly projects.
McCall also added that Coastal Carolina continues to set an excellent environmental example for others. "The university became a GreenPower institution in 2001 and was designated a Champion of the Environment. Incorporating sustainable and energy efficient technology in this building is another demonstration of Coastal's continuing commitment to doing the right thing."
The university also announced today the establishment of The Coastal Carolina University Center for Campus and Community Sustainability, also appropriately being introduced on Campus Sustainability Day.
"This Center represents Coastal's commitment to be a regional leader in environmental sustainability," said Dan Abel, director of the Center. "The Center for Campus and Community Sustainability will focus its activities on campus operations, curriculum, and outreach." Abel continued explaining that CCU recognizes that it is essentially a small city, and as such consumes enormous amounts of energy and material resources and produces massive quantities of waste. Thus, the university has a moral obligation to clean up its own house by applying significant financial, operational, and intellectual resources to minimize the impact.
"Because institutions of higher education should be leaders in this important movement, the Center will do its part to ensure that every student who crosses the threshold of our institution, regardless of major, knows her place in the world, understands the concept of sustainability, and understands her responsibility to practice it," Abel concluded.
At the dedication, President Ingle was presented with a proclamation installing the University as a S.C. Sustainable University by Patricia Jerman, program manager
of the Sustainable Universities Initiative. The S.C. Sustainable Universities Initiative (SUI) was created in 1998 and member schools pledge to cooperate in leading the way toward a more sustainable future through teaching, research, community service and facilities management. To date, 13 four-year and technical schools have joined. SUI serves as a catalyst for activities that will make the universities and other educational institutions, and ultimately, the state as a whole, more sustainable.
There are six unique concepts showcased in the Coastal Science Center (CSC).
- The CSC will use a Direct Digital Control (DDC) Energy Management System that is tied into the campus-wide system. The DDC system results in substantial savings over room thermostat control through thoughtful, sophisticated programming. It allows system-wide adjustments to set-points and control parameters to be made quickly and monitored closely by the facilities engineers. The DDC works in synergy with the other five energy efficiency projects to optimize the building's performance.
- The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system uses an Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Unit or Enthalpy Wheel. This unit takes the "used" air from the building that is already at the desired temperature, and routes the "used" air through an air-to-air pre-conditioning unit. On cold days, this air from inside the building is already heated, so this heat is transferred to the cold fresh air before supplying it to the HVAC system. On a hot day, the "used" cold air vented from inside the building will pull heat out of the fresh air and so lower the temperature (and remove humidity) of the fresh air before it is supplied. In either case, the HVAC costs are lowered by pre-treating the fresh air. The fresh air flow into the building and the vented air flow out pass in counter flow directions through a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger has specially designed air flow with high thermal conductivity to encourage the heat flow from the hot side to the cold side. This simple concept reduces cooling demand by as much as 32% or heating demand by as much as 38%. The entire installed HVAC system can be downsized as a result, so that the initial HVAC system cost is reduced.
- The Lighting System utilizes T-5 Fluorescent Lamps with refractors (lenses) to create smooth light distribution at all angles and distances, while reducing energy usage by 28% over conventional (T-8) lighting. Not only is there a savings in electricity to power the lights, but the lights give off less heat which saves on air conditioning costs. ?
- The building uses Occupancy Sensors for room lighting that detect both infrared and ultrasonic frequencies and are tied into the energy management system to reduce burn time by an expected 35%. The ultrasonic or motion sensors detect people entering the room, while the infrared sensors will ensure that the lights stay on as long as a person is in the room (even a quietly studying student). Control of the sensors is tied into the direct digital control energy management system .
- The CSC has Variable Frequency Drives on the air handlers to reduce electric energy usage by an estimated 80% over conventional on/off fans. The air handlers adjust for variable air volume as well. In a simple system, a single damper is either open or closed, and the single speed fan is either on or off. This can be difficult to regulate, resulting in extreme responses and large fluctuations for the system. In the innovative system, the dampers are digitally controlled to be open by any increment and the fan drives adjust the frequency so that the fans use only as much electricity as needed to operate at the required speed.
- The CSC will use Demand Control Ventilation that compares carbon dioxide concentration in outside air to the inside air, and provides sufficient but not excessive fresh air accordingly. The simple system would open the damper to allow fresh air intake whenever a room is occupied. The innovative system will sense the number of people in the room by sensing the carbon dioxide level in the air return ducts. The DDC will then adjust the air intake accordingly. Multiple checks and defaults guarantee that air quality is always maintained. The estimated 35% reduction in outside air use saves in both fan energy and in heating or cooling of the outside air, and results in improved comfort.
- Santee Cooper is South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility and serves 147,000 residential and commercial customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties. The utility also generates the power distributed by the state's 20 electric cooperatives to more than 650,000 customers in all 46 counties. All total, almost two million South Carolinians receive their power directly or indirectly from Santee Cooper. For more information, visit www.santeecooper.com