Upgraded Dormitories Give Students More Space, Saves Energy
Living on campus is an integral part of the college experience. Prospective students evaluate the condition of campus facilities when choosing among higher education options. Dorm life should translate into comfortable living and campuses that fail to deliver, risk declining enrollment and overall dissatisfaction from students.
Grogan Hall, a 165 room, 75,000 square foot dormitory at University of North Carolina (UNC) Greensboro, was not meeting student’s expectations. In addition to aesthetic updates, the building was in need of various mechanical updates including replacing outdated HVAC systems.
With a 6.5-million-dollar construction budget, the Associate Director for Operations at Greensboro, Ed Keller, began a renovation project to enhance the energy efficiency of the building, as well as satisfy the needs of incoming students in relation to comfort, space and overall quality. He sought out a solution that had a less expensive initial cost that would not only meet energy and budget constraints, but also free up floor space.
“Grogan is a 56- year-old building. The HVAC systems were beyond their useful life, so it was either time to renovate or shut the whole facility down,” said Keller. “Furthermore, we are competing with schools that have newly renovated facilities, so we needed a system that could deliver an on-campus experience that was not only appealing to our residents, but also meets our budgetary demands.”
To accomplish the university’s goals of making its on-campus living an attractive option for incoming students, as well as deliver on energy efficiency demands, Greensboro sought out to install a new HVAC solution for this project.
With the priorities of reduced floor space, quiet comfort and energy efficiency in mind, the project renovation team selected International Environmental Corporation (IEC) and its SureFlow® Hi-Performance Horizontal fan coil system.
“The biggest selling factors for me in selecting SureFlow® was its low operating and maintenance costs, as well as small footprint it was able to provide in the individual rooms,” Said Keller.
The SureFlow® system has a low point of entry cost because of the reduction of pipes and fittings. Designed as a 2-pipe system that performs like a 4-pipe, eliminates a substantial amount of the expense usually spent on materials and labor. It also reduces the amount of pipe and fittings needed to heat and cool the rooms and common spaces. “We wanted to minimize the obstruction by students, making the HVAC system virtually non-existent in the student life.”
Once installed, no formal maintenance is required on the valve or circulator package components most commonly used with SureFlow® units other than normal periodic visual inspections and typical upkeep. The vertical piping design also allows the horizontal units to be located for easy access in multiple floor plans, minimizing disruption to the students.
Taking up virtually no floor space in the dormitories, the SureFlow® system which is mounted over the room doors maximized space within the dorm. The small footprint also enabled easier maintenance without having to disturb room components in order to change the filter.
The project was completed in August 2015. Since completion, the university has exceeded expectations, reducing energy consumption by 30%.
“Since installation, we have seen a substantial amount of savings,” said Keller. “At Grogan Dorm, we are attributing savings of around $2,000 each month on energy alone to the SureFlow® system. We have plans to expand the system throughout campus, beginning with at least 2-3 buildings in the next year.”
Furthermore, with an allocated mechanical budget of 2.3 million, installation of the SureFlow® system enabled savings of roughly $500,000, coming in under budget at $1.8 million.
336 students will occupy Grogan Hall for the fall 2016 school year.