As technological breakthroughs continue to create opportunities for cleaner energy and more environmentally-friendly businesses, institutions like the University of North Georgia are working to reduce their impact on the environment. Bill Moody and Todd Berman, directors of facility operations for UNG, talk about what UNG is doing to join this effort.
What are some examples of recent building projects that have incorporated green technology?
The Dahlonega Campus recently installed a new central chilled-water plant in the basement of the Stewart Center. This central plant combines multiple buildings into one highly-efficient chilled water system, instead of having less-efficient individual chillers at each building. The initial phase of this project brought Stewart, Young Hall, Barnes Hall, and Hoag Auditorium together. We are implementing and planning more phases to add buildings to this plan, and we anticipate adding a second central plant in the future.
All buildings on the Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee campuses are controlled by an Energy Management System that regulates building temperatures and handles the scheduling of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, as well as outdoor and some indoor lighting. Also, the new Martha T. Nesbitt Building on the Gainesville Campus implements many energy-saving features and used recycled materials for part of its construction.
How have some of the older structures on UNG campuses been updated?
This past year, the Gainesville Campus installed new high-efficiency water chillers at the Foster J. Watkins and Administration buildings, and updated the Energy Management Controls for those structures.
Currently, the Oconee Campus has four HVAC systems that are being replaced with more efficient models.
There have been several recent building renovations on the Dahlonega Campus that incorporated high-efficiency lighting upgrades and lighting controls that automatically shut off lights when rooms are not in use, including during after-hours for main circulation areas. Gaillard Hall was renovated in 2012 and the project included an energy recovery unit that exchanges the energy contained in the air inside the building that is exhausted through the exhaust fans and uses it to precondition the incoming fresh outdoor ventilation air in the HVAC system. During the warmer seasons, the system pre-cools and dehumidifies while humidifying and pre-heating in the cooler seasons. It is a very effective tool in energy conservation.
What are some future projects that will feature green technology?All HVAC equipment will continue to be upgraded to reduce energy cost, and we are currently installing bottle-fill water fountains on the Gainesville Campus—this feature will be standard for all future building projects. We expect to continue upgrading the lighting in Dahlonega, and well as implementing a campus recycling program and electric vehicles. There will also be a program to reduce university-wide custodial chemical usage, and all custodial staff are now using cleaning products that are 95 percent green.