In the spring of 2011, the North Carolina State Energy Office (SEO) announced a request for proposals to increase energy efficiency in the facilities of large nonprofits, companies and organizations. This highly competitive grant program was funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) funds. The University, upon review and completion of the requirements, submitted a proposal to fund several critical strategic energy needs on campus.
The University then contracted with a team of energy consultants, general contractors and engineers to quickly assess the viability of several projects and create the proposals from which two key projects were selected:
- The replacement of the roofing system and the glass curtain walls in Grimes Lounge and the top floor of the Mary Joyce Crisp Taylor Student Union, which hosts major events on campus. Due to its orientation and location, Grimes Lounge is generally too hot, despite auxiliary cooling units. It still requires supplementary cooling in the summer months.
This grant allowed for the replacement of the older standard glass with a high-efficiency tinted glass that retains conditioned air in the summer, while retaining heat in the winter months. The roof on Grimes Lounge was also a source of heat loss and heat gain due to the type of roofing system installed. This grant also allowed for the design and installation of a high-energy-efficient roofing system (see photo at right) that minimizes heat loss and gain and reduces energy use.
- The second key project was to upgrade the building systems in Smith Hall. Smith is the second oldest residence hall on campus and was a residence for seminarians in the early years. It is currently a mixed-use residence and administrative hall. Students living in the building were uncomfortable with room temperatures that could not be controlled. The problem often led to open windows while the system was running, which wasted energy. This project allowed for the installation of an automatic control system that adjusts energy use according to the temperature, as well as the installation of newer, more efficient pumps.
JCSU’s proposal competed with others and was accepted by the State Energy Office (SEO). The project was funded $305,303 on a split-funding basis, with a matching requirement for JCSU to leverage 48 percent of the total cost. This project was on a fast track, with less than six months to substantially complete the design, bid and construction phases. A team based on the funding task included Anayochukwu C. Ezeigbo, vice president for business operations; Gerald Hector, vice president for business and finance; Calor Energy for grant administration and energy issues; and Lee Morgan, Inc., the construction manager.
Design began in September 2011, followed by construction in October. The majority of the work occurred around Thanksgiving and Christmas break to minimize disruptions to University business. The remaining aspects of the installation included special-order glass panes and general construction and re-installation of the window shades, which were scheduled for completion by the end of January.
This project also included $6,500 to educate JCSU students and the University community about the project and to broadcast energy-saving themes on a widescreen television in the rotunda lobby. It covered energy awareness gatherings for students during study breaks during the fall semester finals week. This grant, which was completed on budget, is projected to save the equivalent of 400,000 kilowatt hours of power annually, or $32,000, while improving the comfort level in the space for the University and guests.