Operational Savings

Here are some examples operational savings due to sustainability actions.

Installing vending machine “misers”

NMU has installed VendingMisers on all of the cold drink vending machines on campus. VendingMiser uses a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) to power down the machine when the area surrounding it is vacant. Then it monitors the room’s temperature and automatically re-powers the cooling system at one to three hour intervals, independent of sales, to ensure that the product stays cold. By installing these devices, the estimated annual savings in electricity is approximately $7,000.

AdIT saves cooling costs

Administrative Information Technology (AdIT) has raised the temperature set point in its data / server rooms to reduce the cooling load, and has initiated the built-in power management function for all networking and server equipment to produce an estimated savings of $2,000 annually.

New campus lighting program

Plant Operations implemented a lighting program to save on energy costs by reducing exterior lighting when pedestrian activity is at its lowest level. Between 1-7 a.m. when school is in session and all night during the summer and winter break, lighting will be reduced in select areas. Minimum lighting levels still meet standards followed by most municipalities. This employee-suggested program is estimated to reduce energy cost by almost $9,000 annually; while still providing a pedestrian-safe environment.
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New method for scheduling classes

In an effort to reduce energy costs and improve classroom utilization, the Registrar’s office (with a special thanks to Mike Truscott), faculty and Plant Operations have worked together to schedule weekend classes more efficiently; Saturday courses located in Jamrich Hall have been re-assigned to available classroom space in the Science Complex. With no Saturday classes, the heating, cooling, and lighting systems in Jamrich Hall can be turned down saving energy ~ approximately $7,000 per semester.

New boilers realize big savings

Lincoln Street Apartments gas usage in units (#24 – 45 & laundry) is down (-) 29% over last year due to the newer high efficiency boilers that were installed in fall.  The boilers were installed by a local mechanical contractor (apartments) and NMU trades staff (laundry).  The efficiency amounts to a cost avoidance, factoring in the decrease in gas costs, of approximately $3,887 for the month of November.

Preventative checking of steam traps

Steam traps are mechanical devices installed to remove water (condensed steam) from the steam flow ensuring proper operation of the steam distribution system used for heating, hot water and air conditioning. A single failed trap on the main line can be a loss of approximately $5,000/annually. Plant Operations  staff conduct an annual audit of over 1,600 steam traps throughout campus to determine traps that have failed open or are leaking, which saves the university thousands of dollars in utility costs. The NMU steam trap failure rate is approximately 4.7% which is far below the national average of 15-20%.