Energy Management

Energy was once thought of as overhead expenditure when commodity prices were low. Ever increasing prices in electricity, natural gas, district steam and water as well as a great concern for our environment and future generations, led Wayne State University to strongly believe in energy management. There are several strategic elements to Wayne State's Energy Management Department. They are as follows:

Energy Curtailment Committee

Facilities Planning and Management employees, including directors, managers, engineers and trades take part in bi-weekly meetings to discuss the best way to conserve energy around campus for the General Fund accounts.  This committee has identified well over $1M in energy conservation measures (ECMs), with priority given to the items with the lowest payback period. The most recent funding request totaled roughly $200,000 with an annual savings totaling over $160,000, thus a simple payback of less than 2 years. Some of the recent items identified and completed by this committee are:

  • Air Handling Unit Variable Frequency Drive @ Biological Science Building
  • Various AHU's were running in "hand", now running in "auto"
  • Steam Trap repair and replacement- Across campus
  • Condensate heat recovery @ Scott Hall and Lande
  • BMS reprogramming @ Welcome Center
  • LED lighting initiatives- Across Campus

LED Lighting Retrofits

Due to recent federal mandates to save energy, T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts are being phased out of production. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, $38 Billion a year is spent on electricity costs for lighting alone in commercial buildings.  Wayne State has an annual electricity bill of roughly $13 million and is looking to reduce this number.

Thanks to a "kickstart" from the Michigan Economic Growth Corporation grant, Wayne State Facilities Planning and Management hired three dedicated electricians to solely convert old T12 lamps to state of the art LED technology. Simultaneously the Lighting Retrofit group is de-lamping in areas where there is excess lighting, conforming to standards set by ASHRAE. For example, an outdated 4-lamp T12 fixture consumes approximately 120 watts of energy while producing a very low quality light. To achieve the same amount of lumen output, this fixture can be reduced down to two LED lamps consuming a total of 30.6 watts all while producing a cleaner, better looking light without any mercury.

Buildings that have been converted from T12 to LED include (More soon):

  1. Elliman Clinical Research
  2. Faculty Administration Building
  3. Purdy and Kresge Library

Annually, the completed project energy savings equate to:

  • Nearly 2,000 Metric Tons of CO2 Emissions saved OR
  • Removing 400 Vehicles from the Road

Revolving Steam Trap Replacement

Starting in 2012 Wayne State FP&M implemented funds for a revolving steam trap repair and replacement program. Steam traps are an excellent opportunity to save money and almost always have payback periods less than 1 year.  By utilizing a steam trap repair and energy savings estimation tool, we were able to estimate nearly $400,000 in potential savings from failed or flooded steam traps across campus during the 2012/2013 heating season. This represented 13% of the traps tested that were failed or defective. In the 2013/2014 heating season, this number dropped to 4.76% failure rate, while the continuous maintenance anticipates an annual average of 3% failure rate and immediate replacement.

DTE Retrocommissioning

Wayne State University is taking part in a retrocomissioning program associated with DTE and a 3rd party company, Nexant. This program is looking for the "low hanging fruit" of energy savings on the Wayne State Campus. These items are required to be low cost/no cost options and must have a payback period of 18 months or less with measurement and verification (M&V). This project will be running for the duration of 2015 from initial building audits, to energy calculations, to implementing changes.

The initial building audits indicate a lack of coil-cleaning program at the University which is a relatively low-cost item and can have great payback, depending on the application. These coils are used in air handling units for either heating, cooling or energy recovery. If these coils become dirty they lose a great amount of efficiency in their ability to transfer energy. They also can become a clog in the air handler, cause VFD's to ramp up speed to try and maintain a certain static pressure in the ducts. By cleaning the coils, both the efficiency of the energy transfer process and the efficiency at which a VFD operated motor can run at increase. This also helps to maintain occupant comfort. 


Paul Bernard
Paul Bernard

Director, Utilities and Energy Management
(313) 577-4352

Facilities Planning & Management