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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Better Buildings Challenge

The Better Buildings Challenge is a federal initiative through the U.S. Department of Energy that asks the nation’s leaders in energy proficiency to be at least 20 percent more energy-efficient by 2020. Michigan State University has taken up that challenge for its 20 million-square-feet of contiguous campus. 

The university uses a unique building-profiling system to assess 110 campus buildings (approximately 80 percent of the square-footage of its building profile) and determine which provide the best opportunity for energy savings. The profiling system uses historical data about the structure, including type and age of systems, energy use per square foot, and more, to determine an opportunity rank. The ranking system helps engineering experts identify target areas for funding. Then, the existing-building commissioning process is deployed in these areas to achieve the 20-percent energy reduction.

Anthony Hall is the first building at MSU to undergo this complete upgrade process. Built in 1957, Anthony Hall is a 317,200 square-foot multi-purpose building that houses the Department of Animal Science and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, as well as the university’s Meats Lab and Dairy Store.

The comprehensive energy-efficiency upgrades to Anthony Hall have an expected annual cost savings of approximately $536,000 and an annual energy savings of 34 percent with a payback period of seven to 10 years. Changes to Anthony Hall set the blueprint for future improvements across MSU’s campus.

Erickson Hall was the pilot project for the MSU existing-building commissioning (EB Cx) process. Built in 1957, Erickson Hall is a 220,000 square-foot classroom/office facility that houses the School of Education. MSU internal staff conducted both the EB Cx study and the implementation of energy conservation measures to make the facility a more efficient building.

The comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades to Erickson were estimated to yield 31 percent energy savings and an annual cost savings of approximately $307,000 with a simple payback of four to five years. Currently to date, with all of the energy efficiency upgrades in place, along with some additional ones that were realized along the way, the annual reduction in energy consumption appears to be approximately 41 percent.