Texas A&M Teams With Siemens to Save $1.1 Million in Annual Energy Savings

Texas A&M University has set its goals high – including being recognized as a national leader in energy efficiency and sustainability. Since 2002, the campus in College Station, Texas reduced campus energy consumption by 35 percent while the gross square footage served increased by 18 percent. Water consumption on campus has also been reduced by 33 percent since 2000.  Ready to take the next step, Texas A&M officials signed performance contracts with Siemens, supplier of production, transportation and building technology solutions, earlier this year totaling $15.1 million, designed to further reduce the overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions on campus, improve building occupant comfort, and support campus sustainability.

Jim Riley, Director for Utilities and Energy Management at Texas A&M University, explained how federal dollars combined with low-interest loans funded this project: "The combination of performance contracting and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) enables the university to get these projects started now and more quickly achieve efficiency improvements."

Performance contracting allows a facility to complete energy-saving improvements within an existing budget by financing them through guaranteed annual energy savings.  The projects are designed so that the annual energy and operational savings are greater than or equal to the required payments over the term of the contract, resulting in a net savings to a customer's budget.

"The university has applied for and successfully been granted two low interest loans from the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) here in Texas," said Riley.  The Phase I loan is for $10 million and Phase II is for an additional $5.1 million.  Siemens has guaranteed the equivalent of $1.1 million in annual energy and operational savings over the 10-year term for the Phase I project, with over $500,000 in annual savings projected for Phase II.

Twenty-four facilities have been receiving upgrades and retrofits over the past several months designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption.  Phase I included optimization of the building automation system (BAS), better control of HVAC systems, installation of occupancy sensors, and mechanical system improvements in 17 buildings, together with the installation of new lighting technologies in some buildings and in all five campus parking garages. ARRA guidelines require the project to be completed by December 2011, use American-made products (where available) and submission of quarterly reports to the State Energy Conservation Office during construction.  Construction on Phase I started in January 2011, with Phase II starting right after it.  

The Phase II project includes similar work scope in seven additional buildings that have been identified with comparable payback from energy savings.

Texas A&M's relationship with Siemens began in 1983 with installation of an energy management and control system in a few campus buildings. Five years later, the school began standardizing all new and retrofitted buildings with the Siemens APOGEE® Building Automation System.  Over the past 22 years, the APOGEE® system has grown to include close to 200,000 monitoring and control points in over 200 buildings, while also monitoring the campus municipal water system.  It is recognized as one of the largest integrated building automation systems in the world. Texas A&M University has also standardized on a Siemens fire monitoring system over the past 10 years and installed a Siemens security system to monitor and protect the mission-critical utility plants.  

Riley summarized the relationship by stating, "Siemens is a partner Texas A&M relies on consistently to help us effectively manage and optimize the operation of our facilities and complex systems."