WWU Projects Save Energy & Money Through PSE Program

Western Washington University realized significant energy savings and rebates last year through a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) program. Under PSE’s Commercial Strategic Energy Manager program, Western documented actual electrical savings of 1.9 million kilowatt hours in fiscal year 2018-19 and avoided costs of $198,861.

In addition, Western received an incentive grant of $65,985 from PSE, which the university will use to fund additional energy saving measures.

“All this is attributable to the hard work and collective efforts of our campus energy manager, Building Automated Controls programmers and in-house electricians,” said John Furman, director of Facilities Management at Western.

Western is a contracted participant in PSE’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program, comprised largely of institutional PSE customers, with the majority of participants being school districts, hospitals, colleges and universities and anyone who owns or manages campus-like facilities, said Scott Dorough, WWU campus energy manager.

The program incentivizes such customers to seek energy reductions through low-cost/no-cost operational adjustments to systems/equipment and occupant behavior modification.

“It is different from their other conservation grant programs that incentivizes energy savings from actual building/equipment capital improvements. We participate in those programs as well,” Dorough said, adding that there has been significant success at Western with SEM activities over the past two years.

“Our Building Automation Center (BAC) personnel (Chris Hadley, Don Bergler, Thomas Trebacz) deserve huge credit.  Over this time period, they’ve made enormous progress in optimizing Western’s campus building operations to better coincide with actual building schedules. Heretofore, building operations were much looser to allow for unanticipated additional building use that wasn’t necessarily required,” Dorough said.    

 With attention to actual building needs through 25Live, a campus room scheduling software, and coordination with University program scheduling personnel, the BAC team has tightened up operation of equipment needed to maintain comfort conditions. They continue to optimize heating and ventilation equipment so it operates only during times needed. This reduces run times and, thus, energy consumption.