CAA Energy Efficiency

Lake Superior College’s new aviation maintenance technician training partnership with Delta Air Lines has made national headlines in recent months, but LSC has been working closely with local aviation partners like AAR and Cirrus Aircraft for a number of years.  With their growing demand, the Center for Advanced Aviation (CAA) training facility made a leap from its main campus location to a more spacious facility at the Duluth International Airport in 2015.  That move brought with it facility challenges and opportunities, with almost 40,000 square feet to heat, cool and power.

Consistent with the Minnesota State’s goal to reduce statewide campus energy use 20% by 2020, LSC has made aggressive efforts to reduce energy use.  At the main campus, the electricity savings have been driven by retrofitting lighting fixtures and bulbs to efficient LEDs, and incorporated motion sensors and schedule optimization strategies where appropriate.  In 2017, collective energy improvements had reduced energy consumption by 7% overall from the campus’ 2009 baseline.

What’s NEW?

The latest lighting project at LSC’s CAA campus included a complete high bay fixture swap – 50 1,000 watt metal-halide fixtures were replaced with 50 185 watt LED fixtures.  That almost 41 kW per fixture (over 120,000 kW project total annually) advantage could potentially save BIG money; $9,513.16 calculated savings per year, to be exact.  With the $9,050 rebate from Minnesota Power’s PowerGrant Program, the project should pay for itself in 1.26 years(!!).

The project design is great, but how is it PERFORMING?

We like actual data, too.  Along with LSC’s Sustainability Coordinator, our MN GreenCorps member has been refining the energy tracking data for this site.  Using billing invoices going back to 2015, we are definitely seeing some trends in the right direction.  Since February, the invoices have taken a sharp decrease, with energy use dropping by 5,500 kWh when compared to the previous 2 year average; each month since January has been a significant improvement over previous years.  These decreases in energy consumption translate to a total dollar savings of  almost $2,000 over the past 4-months (based on previous 2-year average).  In fact, May showed an all-time low for electricity use since LSC has occupied the space.

year over year graph of energy savings

LSC’s CAA energy use 2015-2018

If you like number crunching as much as we do, you’ll find we’re really close to the calculated savings.  Building users are switch-flipping like bosses, and turning off half of the high bay fixtures when they aren’t using the space (zero energy use is even better than low energy fixtures).  The photo from our CAA campus (above) was taken during a surprise visit in June, showing exactly how they’re hitting these performance marks.  Users told us the lighting, although using far less electricity per fixture, is more than adequate.  Smart, cost effective, AND user friendly.  We’re calling this one a major win!

Posted in: Good Stuff, GreenCorps

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