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Improving the performance profile of energy conservation measures at the Penn State University Park Campus

Melissa Kazemi Rad (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
David Riley (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Somayeh Asadi (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Parhum Delgoshaei (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 17 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine significant steps taken by the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) to account for both energy cost savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals through strategic investments in energy conservation measures (ECMs) in campus buildings. Through an analysis of multiple years of investment in facility upgrades across the university, the impacts of ECMs of various types are characterized by building type. The standards and criteria for ECMs investments are also evaluated with the goal to develop a predictive tool to support decision making pertaining to an annual investment in a portfolio of ECMs that will maintain a trajectory to achieve both financial return on investment as well as GHG reduction goals.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is comprised of three main parts: analyzing the energy costs saving and GHG emissions reduction contribution of various building types in which ECMs were conducted, analyzing costs saving and GHG emissions reduction contribution of each ECM while considering the average annual investments made in them and estimating the impact of upgrading Penn State’s steam plants from firing a mixture of coal and natural gas to natural gas only on the GHG emissions.

Findings

These analyses help identify which types of buildings and ECMs would have larger savings and emissions reduction contributions. A calculator is also created to enable forecasting of costs saving and GHG emissions reduction of investment distribution strategy among ECMs. This study demonstrates that the calculator based on data from previous years will benefit decision makers in more wisely configuring the investment portfolio.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identical need to couple energy efficiency strategies coupled with the environmental impacts associated with different fossil fuel energy sources.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research team wishes to thank the Engineering Staff at the Penn State Office of Physical Plant for their generosity in sharing data and thought processes that have been utilized in crafting the ambitious GHG reduction efforts of the University. This research has also been supported by the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) and the US Department of Energy.

Citation

Kazemi Rad, M., Riley, D., Asadi, S. and Delgoshaei, P. (2017), "Improving the performance profile of energy conservation measures at the Penn State University Park Campus", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 610-628. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-02-2016-0050

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited