Plant City Campus News
HCC Sustainability at Work: More Building Space, Reduced Energy Costs!
Raise your hand if you believe that HCC can add thousands of square feet of space, yet reduce energy costs. Are you still wondering if you can raise your hand? Well, pump up that fist and raise your hand as high as you can because our institution, our college, has just done that!

In the Summer 2010 edition of Inside @ HCC, our college’s baseline greenhouse gas emission (GHG) inventory was published detailing the anthropogenic data for the year 2008-2009. Recently, the second GHG inventory was completed for the year 2009-2010 and results of the inventory were submitted as part of our continued commitment to the American College and President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) . The GHG inventory is a means of quantifying the environmental impact of the College’s operations relative to greenhouse gas emissions. This article focuses on improvements in energy management a to promote sustainable efforts at the college. In 2008-2009 the gross square feet (GSF) of building space at HCC was 1,632,387. Since then, HCC has added another 21,761 GSF of building space, for a total of 1,654,148 square feet. Interestingly, in 2008-2009 data shows that the college-wide energy cost was $2.67 per sq.ft., whereas that cost at the end of 2009-2010 was $2.37 per sq.ft. The addition of over 21,000 GSF to the college’s total space while reducing energy usage is a noteworthy achievement.

How has this been accomplished? The College began making energy reduction a goal even prior to becoming a signatory to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. First, District and campus facilities staff have overseen planned replacements of some of the oldest heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment across the college. Less efficient systems are being replaced with new, highly efficient systems. Two buildings, the SouthShore campus, and the new Ybor City Campus Student Services Building were built to LEED gold standards. The College has made a commitment that all new construction or major renovations be designed to at least LEED silver standards, meaning that as space is upgraded, it is more energy efficient. Second, specific energy conservation measures have been added in some buildings, with more planned in the future. For example, the projected payback on lighting occupancy controls across the college is 6.6 years. Lighting occupancy controls have been added to renovated space, but the college plans to install these college-wide within the next year. The College’s recent energy audit has produced further recommendations for energy conservation measures and capital improvements, including software to more closely monitor and control energy usage by building. Finally, everyone who is more conscious of energy use is making a difference, whether it’s turning off lights in vacant rooms, or minimizing the use personal electronic appliances.

Steps taken continue to produce results. So far in the current fiscal year, FY 2011-12, the College has used roughly 19.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity through January 2012, compared to 20.4 million kWh for the same period last year, almost a 2.5% reduction in kWh. This has resulted in an electrical cost savings of over $113,000 in the first seven months of the year when compared to last year.

Our efforts are continuing to support what some educators call sustainability’s triple bottom line, Education, Economy and the Environment.

For more information, please contact Ms. Barbara Larson, Dr. Sudeep Vyapari or Ms. Amber C. Lee

Article Written By: Barbara Larson and Sudeep Vyapari.