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Focusing on efficiency to save energy, money

Environmentally sound initiatives being taken at MUSC are translating into a lot of green through money saved in utility costs.
To reduce its carbon footprint and overall energy consumption, MUSC is participating in an energy efficiency capital improvement performance plan that will guarantee a savings of $2.5 million a year.
MUSC has contracted with Ameresco Inc., to implement a comprehensive water and energy reduction project during the next 18 months. Ameresco will base its performance on an audit it had conducted on MUSC’s energy and water use to determine projects that would give a quick payback.
A newly designed jet toilet was installed in Engineering & Facilities last week. The toilet ejects, all at once, 1.3 gallons of water saving 2 gallons from every flush. The bathroom faucet was also fitted with an aerator that reduces water consumption by 50 percent.

Under the contract, Ameresco engineers are providing design, procurement, installation, modification and maintenance of existing and/or new energy and water-related equipment and systems with specific cost savings projections. The contract also includes annual training of MUSC staff on routine maintenance and operation of all improvements; and resident education on conservation methods and procedures.
“Ameresco has the experience and knowledge to develop a package of efficiency and renewable energy projects that will deliver a beneficial long-term impact to our institution and the community that we serve,” said John Malmrose, chief facilities officer for the university. “We look forward to working with this team of experts to improve the quality of life for our patients, students and staff.”
Ameresco will upgrade lighting, boiler controls, fume hoods, and air conditioning and heating equipment. It also will undertake water conservation projects, such as installing water efficient toilets, shower heads and sterilizers.
The entire performance contract with water and energy conservation measures and related capital improvements is divided into 21 smaller projects. Each of these smaller projects is called an Energy Efficiency Measure (EEM) and will take place in almost every building on campus.
The lighting EEM will consist of replacing existing lamps and lighting fixtures with more energy efficient lights and lighting components. The domestic water EEM includes replacing existing toilets, urinals, faucets, dish washing machinery, sterilizers and just about anything else that uses city water to operate more efficiently.
“This project has the potential for a double win,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. “If we can reduce our consumption of energy, we can save money, which obviously is crucial in these tough financial times. Equally important, if we can reduce energy consumption, we will be more environmentally responsible and serve as a model for other institutions. If we can do better financially, and at the same time, do better environmentally, this will be a very important effort.”
The performance contract was financed through a low interest loan, which will be paid back from future energy and water conservation savings. MUSC is among many institutions of higher education embarking on contracted energy and water savings initiatives, including Winthrop University in Rock Hill, The Citadel and the University of South Carolina.


Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.