The College of Central Florida spends over $1.5 million to heat and cool all campus buildings annually. The Plant Operations department has a plan in action to help conserve energy and reduce the overall cost. That plan is the Energy Conservation and Sustainability Procedure and Best Practices (PBP).
This plan was put into force years back, but with summer approaching, Tommy Morelock, Director of Facilities, wanted to refresh CF employees by sending them an email outlining the PBP on May 4, 2016. Florida summers bring 90-degree weather and humanity, which can make indoors harder to keep cool, and it’s difficult keeping everyone happy.
“I didn’t know CF had any kind of plan to help conserve energy until I received an email” said Dottie James, employee of CF since 2007. “I’m freezing in my office most of the time.”
Heating and cooling CF is not as simple as heating and cooling personal residences, a lot goes on beyond just turning the air conditioner up or down. Air is brought from the outside and inside, where it goes through a cleaning process. 45-degree water is then run through the air and cools the air to 55 degrees.
The reheating system is then added into factor, which brings back the 55-degree air and reheats it to get it to around 75 degrees – this is the air that is pumped through to the facilities.
“It’s fine if someone was here in the evenings” said Polly Ayers, employee of Student Accounts since 2010, when asked if they were in favor of the PBP. “The problem is its not consented, if this plan included consent, that would be easier to work with”
During the winter and summer seasons, which are defined as April to November and November to March, to help conserve energy and reduce cost, the degrees range from a high of 78 degrees during summer and a low of 68 degrees in the winter.
According to the PBP, “each degree reduction in winter temperature set point and every degree increase in summer temperature set point yields 0.5-1% reduction in annual heating/cooling costs.”
Temperatures change during occupied and unoccupied hours. Offices, such as enrollment services and the rest of building five, have an occupied schedule of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The rest of the campus, including the classrooms, the library, the gym and the performing arts center, might have occupied schedules that extend to 10 p.m. and include weekends.
During unoccupied hours, temperatures are adjusted to help with the PBP. They can be as low as 55 degrees in the winter and as high as 80 degrees in the summer. Since most of the campus has unoccupied hours during the weekends, it may take up to two hours on Mondays to get to the set point temperature.
“It’s not designed [CF’s air conditioning system] for comfort, its designed for health” said Morelock. “Our number one concern is clean, safe and environmentally safe air”
Another way CF plans to conserve energy and reduce cost is LED lighting. In the near future, the outside light posts throughout the Ocala campus will be equipped with an LED lighting system. The new Levy County campus, which has a projected opening time of fall 2017, will be the first of CF’s campuses to be fully equipped with an LED system.
To learn more about CF’s facilities department, visit http://www.cf.edu/community/cf/facilities/index
To learn more about the new Levy County campus, visit http://www.cf.edu/community/locations/levy-campus/index
Story by: Katelyn Bea James