Honeywell and Merced College, Merced, Calif., have kicked off an energy-conservation initiative that aims to reduce the school’s annual operating costs by $180,000 through energy-efficient building upgrades. The program also includes the launch of an enhanced college curriculum focused on teaching conservation strategies that use the energy-efficient building upgrades as a real-world case study for classroom learning.

As part of the project, Honeywell will make building infrastructure improvements to 16 campus buildings, including HVAC system upgrades and the installation of energy-efficient lighting. Overall, these improvements are expected to trim the college’s electricity use by more than 1.5 million kilowatt-hours annually—enough energy to power nearly 180,000 homes.

Merced College and Honeywell will use the school’s energy usage statistics to develop a course curriculum on sustainability, and raise awareness among students of the positive impact conservation practices contribute to the community. As part of this program, “sustainability interns” using Honeywell’s Energy Management System (EMS) will track resource usage in 16 campus buildings. The interns will develop a newsletter to update students, faculty and staff on the program’s progress and help lead additional campus-wide conservation efforts, such as recycling competitions and car-sharing programs.

“The goal of the energy conservation project is not only to curb rising operating costs, but also to impact our students’ learning experience by using the college as a teaching tool for future sustainability courses,” said Mazie Brewington, Merced College’s vice president of administrative services. “Honeywell has proved to be an instrumental partner in our school’s educational mission to teach the importance of energy conservation, and as an industry advisor provide input into effective course curricula for our students that mirrors current challenges facing the world.”

Honeywell will complete the building system enhancements and future maintenance under a 15-year, $3.1 million performance contract. This will allow school officials to pay for the upgrades using the cost-savings generated, which Honeywell guarantees. As a result, the program won’t increase school budgets or require additional funding. “Energy conservation education and awareness programs and energy-efficient technologies are needed to make a long-term impact in any community,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “Merced College serves as a valuable example of an integrated effort that uses energy-efficient technologies as a tool to teach students the importance of energy conservation and environmental stewardship.”

Honeywell will implement a variety of conservation measures across campus buildings, including:

• Sub-meters in 16 campus buildings to provide facility personnel with a more granular view of energy usage throughout campus from a centralized energy management system.

• Updated HVAC systems for the gymnasium, student union, theater and computer services building to improve energy efficiency.

• High-efficiency lighting for building exteriors and interiors, including light-emitting diode (LED) lights.