Vet Med campus achieves significant energy savings

A significantly larger Veterinary Medicine campus -- following nearly five years of renovation and new construction -- also is a much more energy-friendly one, according to energy consumption data compiled by ISU utility services.

From 2008 to 2012, the facility's total square footage grew by a third, and a third of the original 1976 space was renovated. An on-site chilled water system and steam-generating boilers were replaced with high-efficiency systems now independent of the power plant on central campus. The result has been a nearly 25 percent decrease in the facility's annual energy use (electricity, cooling and heat) and a 38 percent decrease in its energy "intensity" – a measurement of BTUs used per gross square foot.

The fiscal year that concluded June 30 was the first full year of operating the new Vet Med facility with its smart design, state-of-the-art building products and efficient utility systems. Utilities director Jeff Witt said he averaged the complex's energy use from fiscal years 2006, 2007 and 2008 and compared that average to FY13 consumption data.

"Essentially, I drew a box around the complex, including the energy plant, and looked at energy inputs to the facility before renovations began and after all the work was completed," he explained.

Witt said the credit for the savings ought to be spread around, among the architects, engineers, project managers from facilities planning and management and the building users.

The FY13 data is "a good benchmark to watch," he said. Weather and age of the building systems will influence the numbers from year to year.

Additional savings

One small piece of the Vet Med project, following the installation of new chillers and boilers, was to remove a mile of steam pipe serving the college's heating needs from the campus power plant. The pipe, installed underground more than 35 years ago, was in poor condition with leaks and ineffective insulation by the time it was removed. Witt said eliminating that steam line resulted in an additional $600,000 savings last year.