Campus Sustainability

Merced College to Invest in Sustainability

California community college Merced College has partnered with Johnson Controls to upgrade the campus infrastructure and target deferred maintenance problems. In an effort to improve sustainability and the student experience on campus, Johnson is set to manage the design, procurement and installation of energy-efficient central plant and lighting retrofits, as well as upgrade campus building automation systems (BAS) and mechanical systems.

The partnership marks the first infrastructure project in the state enabled by a contingent payment program (CPP), an arrangement that allows the college to transfer all risk to Johnson and that requires no upfront cost for the work. This alternative to traditional debt financing is set to save the college more than $6.4 million in energy costs and helps it redivert funds to other campus upgrades and student resources.

“In making these campus-wide improvements, Merced College will maximize operational efficiency and sustainability, all while creating cost savings that can be redirected elsewhere,” said account executive for higher education at Johnson Controls, Jason Culver. “And by taking advantage of a CPP, they can reduce the amount of bond funding needed for their renovation without compromising on innovation or performance.”

Merced’s existing central plant is approaching the end of its lifespan, causing increased service calls and risking campus closures caused by chiller failures. Johnson will install a new chiller, refurbish two of the existing chillers and cooling towers, and integrate OpenBlue Central Plant Optimization software to finally tackle deferred maintenance issues and improve energy efficiency.

“Merced College seeks to ensure our facilities and technology planning are aligned with sustainable and efficient industry standards,” said Merced College President Chris Vitelli, Ed.D. “Johnson Controls partnership, support and resources will help lead these efforts and ensure we have more productive and efficient strategies to serve our students better.”

On top of update to the college’s central plant, Johnson will also upgrade interior LED lighting and stadium lighting. The project is set to reduce campus carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.5 million pounds per year. “Merced College is known for its incredible workforce development and training programs, and exemplary student achievements,” said Culver. “By upgrading campus environments with advanced LED lighting and continuing to deliver an optimal space for education, Merced College is investing in the student experience for current and future generations.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].