The five-year partnership with Cenergistic, recommended by a university-wide committee and approved by the Board of Regents in June, aims to find energy savings across the campuses through technology- and behavior-based strategies that will help maximize NU’s use of its facilities and equipment.
Bounds thanked NU’s newly consolidated energy and facilities team, led by Associate Vice President Mark Miller, for identifying a comprehensive approach to finding savings while preserving the university’s teaching, research and service missions. The university streamlined its energy and facilities functions as a result of the Budget Response Team process, initiated in 2017 to cut operational spending to address reductions in state funding and NU’s rising costs.
“Campuses have done an excellent job of enhancing sustainability over the years, but we can always do more to be better stewards of our environmental resources,” Bounds said. “We’re excited to have Cenergistic on board to help us think through how we can be an even more sustainable and more innovative university.”
A team of Cenergistic engineers and conservation experts are on-site now, working with NU facilities and operations leads on each campus and at Nebraska Medical Center to gather information about space and energy use in the university’s buildings. That includes, for example, building temperatures, use of lights, space utilization and other information.
Cenergistic, in partnership with the university, will then deliver recommended university-wide guidelines aimed at improving energy conservation and cutting costs. Guidelines will be vetted by NU’s chief business and academic officers and will take into account, for example, the unique energy and space needs of research facilities, the hospital, and others that directly align with the university’s academic mission.
Based in Dallas, Cenergistic has helped school districts and universities across the country find energy savings, including Oklahoma State University, Florida State University and Washington and Lee University. NU’s partnership with the firm will end in 2024. Each month during the partnership, the university will pay Cenergistic 50 percent of total energy savings realized during that month that resulted from the firm’s recommendations.
“Cenergistic is thrilled to partner with the University of Nebraska and Nebraska Medicine to implement our Energy Sustainability program,” said Cenergistic Vice Chairman Randy Hoff. “With an organizational behavior-based approach to energy conservation coupled with our full-time energy specialists working to ensure all facilities and systems are working at peak efficiency, we have no doubt they will achieve great amounts of success in both cost and energy savings. Additionally, with help from everyone involved in the organization, we plan to create a culture of sustainability that will continue to grow and ensure success into the future.”
Director of Communications University of Nebraska