In 2004 Luther College signed a PerformanceEdge energy services contract with our electric utility, Alliant Energy. Luther invested $1.5 million in various energy efficiency initiatives that had an average estimated pay-back period of seven years. After a preliminary audit of 17 campus buildings, several potential projects with significant savings were identified and the best selected.
The project with the most significant savings was the installation of an energy management and control system. The new energy management system controls the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC), as well as lighting systems for every room of every building on campus. Wireless capability is standard and allows monitoring of all building management functions from a single facility or remotely.
It took 15 months to conduct an audit of Luther’s facilities and to install more efficient systems, but the time and expense was well spent. Luther has reduced its peak 2004 electricity consumption by approximately 23 percent (4.4 million kilowatt hours) and its heating fuel consumption by approximately 16 percent (156,664 therms). This has helped the college reduce its campus carbon footprint by 14 percent. The 8,736,640 pounds of carbon dioxide that have been avoided each year are equivalent to not driving 10,920,799 miles or taking 873 cars off the road.
Since the college’s savings have been greater than expected, Luther has utilized some of these savings to commission feasibility studies for additional investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.