August 7, 2012
Members of the Northeastern Junior College Physical Plant staff pose with the Xcel Energy Award the college received for improved energy efficiency. Pictured here (l to r front) Linda Sears and Geneva Skeels, (l to r back) Lyle Rose, Pam Serrato, Bob Thompson, John Rhine, Darvis “Doc” Hurst, Dale Brekel, Rick Skeels, David Crawford, Brad Coats, Dan Kelley and Doug Werner (Courtesy Photo)
By Barbara Baker
This spring Northeastern Junior College was pleased to be one of 10 Colorado businesses recognized by Xcel Energy for outstanding efforts to save energy. The awards honored commercial, industrial and small-business customers in Colorado for participating in Xcel Energy's 2011 energy-efficiency programs. Collectively, these companies saved more than 38 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, which avoided production of more than 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide -- the equivalent of keeping 5,000 cars off the road for a year. Northeastern was specifically honored with the 2011 Standard Offer Achievement Award. The college had an energy savings of 1,380,031 kilowatt hours and a carbon dioxide reduction of 785 tons.
There were a number of ways in which Northeastern was able to save energy. In 2009 it entered into a U. S. Department of Energy sponsored Energy Saving Performance Contract. Energy Performance Contracting is a financing mechanism used to pay for energy efficiency improvements all at once that are then paid back through annual energy savings. Through this program, Northeastern was able to undergo a comprehensive energy audit by an energy service company (ESCO) during which improvements to save energy were identified. The ESCO, who was Ennovate Corporation of Englewood, CO, designed and constructed a project to meet NJC’s needs and arranged for the necessary funding. The ESCO guarantees that the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract, which in NJC’s case is 15 years. The savings are measured and verified on an annual basis. After the contract ends, all additional cost savings accrue to the college. This 2011 Xcel award clearly recognizes how well the improvements have helped lower energy use and carbon dioxide production.
Improvements were done to many of the buildings on campus and included new windows, new lighting fixtures, restroom fixtures, computerized monitoring of heating and air systems, variable speed HVAC motors, high efficiency boiler replacement, and de-stratification fans
It was the college’s physical plant staff that played a major role in working with the ESCO to schedule workloads, contractors , oversee material deliveries and in some instances, physically helped complete the work that was done as part of the contract.