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Coe College Improving Energy Efficiency

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS 2/Fox 28) -- Coe College is embarking on a major energy reduction program that will decrease the institution's electricity use by 25 percent and natural gas consumption by almost 50 percent, and deliver approximately $220,000 in guaranteed energy and operational savings each year.  

Combined with a transition to gas-fired heating through the construction of a new steam plant with St. Luke's Hospital in 2010, the college expects to cut its carbon footprint in half.

The campus-wide energy retrofit project will be performed by Honeywell.  

When completed, the project also aims to reduce the environmental impact of the 20-building campus, trimming close to 2,300 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions - equivalent to removing 450 cars from the road.

This will help the college meet the sustainability requirements of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which Coe College and more than 680 other U.S. institutions have joined to help curb climate change.

Coe will fund the $3.45-million project with a loan issued by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) under its Energy Bank funding program, a resource available to public and non-profit entities to finance energy-efficient improvements and renewable-energy projects.

The low-interest-rate loan will help the college to pay for the work without tapping into its capital budget. In addition, the savings generated from the improvements, guaranteed by Honeywell through a 15-year performance contract, should cover the project expenses. 

As part of the retrofit project, Honeywell will implement a number of building management improvements in 16 facilities. These enhancements include redesigning air-distribution systems and adding HVAC controls so operators can better manage energy use and comfort. Additional upgrades include: high-efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors; weatherization improvements to reduce the loss of conditioned air; and new plumbing fixtures to cut water waste.

"Coe has a long history of adopting conservation measures, but we had reached a point where it was difficult to achieve more without outside resources," said Coe Vice President for Administrative Services Michael White. "Honeywell identified where we can drive greater efficiency and helped build a master plan for future improvements." 

Construction is slated to begin in late May and is expected to last 12 months. Honeywell will work with local contractors to complete most of the upgrades, helping create or sustain an estimated 35 jobs based on figures from the National Association of Energy Service Companies.
"Energy retrofit projects help Coe College and other institutions in many facets, not just lowering energy use and costs," said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "There are direct environmental benefits - important for organizations with sustainability goals. These projects also help revitalize critical buildings and infrastructure."

The college has also switched to natural gas to heat the campus, utilizing the LEED certified steam plant shared with St. Luke's Hospital.
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