Regents Hear Summary of Integrated Energy Master Plan


Ryan Corrigan, director of the St. Louis Office of Bernhard, an engineering, construction and energy solutions firm, presented a summary and recommendations to the Board of Regents from an integrated energy master plan it developed for Southeast.

The three objectives of the Master Plan were to drive cost savings, address aging infrastructure and improve energy distribution among existing spaces. Over the course of the past year, Bernhard has assessed energy usage in 46 campus buildings, analyzing about 2.6 million square feet of building space, he said.

Bernhard developed an 8,760-hour energy model for all buildings using historic utility data and national average energy costs by building type to assess energy usage on campus.

The energy models address capital renewal and deferred maintenance along with operations and maintenance. Using site surveys and drawing reviews, Bernhard compiled a database of all energy assets, which included more than 400 individual pieces of equipment. It calculated estimates on the useful life and replacement costs of the assets. The current energy infrastructure “backlog,” which is the value of existing equipment past its useful life, is estimated at $43.6 million, while the capital renewal cost over the next 20 years is estimated at $44.01 million or $2.2 million a year, Corrigan said.

Operations and maintenance expenses were then modeled using the equipment asset database, and total annual expenses per square foot by building type were calculated.

Bernhard projects Southeast’s total annual energy infrastructure expenses at $7.5 million, which includes total annual utility costs of $4.06 million (based on FY18), $1.2 million in annual maintenance costs and $2.2 million in annual capital renewal expense.

Corrigan concluded his presentation with an overview of recommendations grouped by priority level and separated into two categories – reliability to ensure business continuity and energy projects that can generate significant annual energy savings.

The high priority projects could generate about $1.025 million in annual utility savings, he said. The high priority recommendations include constructing a new south chiller plant, removing the existing chillers and cooling towers in Kent Library and extending the south chiller plant piping to the central chiller plant. Other high priority recommendations include converting Grauel Building and Rose Theatre from steam heating to heating hot water and removing these buildings from the central boiler plant supply, repairing utility tunnels identified in a 2019 report and recommissioning the existing chiller plant and boiler plant on the River Campus to generate energy savings. The high priority recommendations would address 77% or $33.6 million of the current energy infrastructure backlog, Corrigan said.