State awards $3M for energy savings projects at WSU

PULLMAN – The state has awarded WSU a $3,075,180 grant to assist with energy cost-saving improvement projects at the Pullman, Spokane and Tri-Cities campuses, as well as the Puyallup Research Station.
Some of the upgrades include lighting, controls, boilers, heating ventilation and air conditioning, and smart grid metering/demand reduction/conservation voltage reduction.
“Facilities Operations is excited to receive this grant award,” said Terry Ryan, director of WSU’s Energy Systems Operations. “The total cost (of the projects) is $6.7 million, with the balance of the funding coming from energy savings, utility rebates and other nonstate funds.
“The annual energy savings from these projects will be 2.4 million kWh and 117,000 therms of natural gas, saving approximately $250,000 per year,” he said.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state Department of Commerce selected 29 public education institutions that will receive almost $17 million in grants to create jobs and save energy costs. Total cost for all the projects statewide is more than $44 million, including more than $26 million of nonstate funding.
Grant recipients were limited to a maximum of $5 million. An estimated 660 jobs will be created.
“These projects are a double win for Washington state,” Gregoire said. “They create immediate construction jobs, which is a boon to this industry that has been hit especially hard during the recession. And they create long-term cost savings by making our public facilities more energy efficient, which ensures we get the most value for our taxpayer dollars.”
The state’s 2010 supplemental capital budget included $50 million for the Department of Commerce for energy cost savings grants. The Jobs Act for Public K-12 and Higher Education grants are being awarded through a competitive process, and may be used solely for energy and cost savings improvements.
The immediate goal of the program is to stimulate Washington’s economy by creating jobs. The long-term goal is to reduce the energy costs at the state’s public education facilities.
“These funds support communities in improving public building performance, save energy and will create immediate jobs in the construction sector,” said Rogers Weed, director of the Department of Commerce.
Project summaries
The projects, by location, include:
WSU Puyallup Research Station – Upgrade lighting in 10 buildings to T8/electronic ballasts, upgrade outside lighting in selected areas, and install lighting controls in 2 greenhouses to harvest ambient light and reduce artificial lighting needs.
WSU Spokane – Phase 1 Classroom Bldg – Optimize lighting efficiency, upgrade the DDC system to incorporate occupancy controls and enhanced graphics, and retro-commission HVAC systems with air/water rebalance to restore system operations to optimum operations.
WSU Tri-Cities East Bldg. – Replace the ageing boiler which provides the facility space heating and hot water needs with two new, more efficient boilers. 
WSU Pullman Sloan Hall – Upgrades of the 48-year old building’s HVAC system, including improving its control and air distribution systems to state-of-the-art direct digital controls and variable air volume systems.
WSU Pullman Student Recreation Center  – Upgrade the air handling systems for the two large gyms from constant volume to variable air volume, upgrade the controls on air handlers 4 and 5 to incorporate demand control ventilation and automate the outside air damper operation, upgrade the pool/spa water heating system with new high-efficiency boilers and modified pumping system, and retro-fit the gym lighting systems to address a safety hazard associated with older circuitry for CFL end-of-life operations.
WSU Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project – Part of a collaborative effort being developed with Avista Utilities under a Department of Energy grant awarded to Battelle Labs for a Smart Grid Demonstration Project (SGDP). The state grant will enable WSU to participate in the DOE grant project once associated contracts are finalized.  The WSU portion of the SGDP submitted for the state grant program has three primary facets on the Pullman campus:
* HVAC retro-commissioning on 38 large buildings to return the HVAC systems to optimum operation and upgrade control programs to reduce waste energy use and incorporate capability to initiate selected system “load sheds” in the event of an electric grid instability signal from Avista without significant impact to teaching/learning/research activities.
* Development of an Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS) for the Pullman campus utilizing networked Smart Meters to monitor energy/utility use at each building in a near-real-time mode with the energy data recorded and available for energy reporting, energy analysis, and predictive maintenance.
* Implementing a conservation voltage reduction system with Avista to provide optimized voltage control based on actual building voltages.  A reduction in electrical demand as well as energy use is a result of the better voltage regulation.
For more information on the Jobs Act, go to
 or the state’s 
Department of Commerce