New Sustainability Partnership with Honeywell Aims to Reduce PhilaU’s Carbon Footprint

As one of many new sustainability projects at PhilaU, Honeywell installed an energy dashboard kiosk in the SEED Center.

Philadelphia University recently announced the launch of a campus-wide energy education and awareness campaign aimed at promoting sustainable practices among students, faculty and the local community that will help reduce the university’s energy costs and environmental impact.

The sustainability campaign, Act! Earth, continues the University’s partnership with Honeywell, which has focused on modernizing school facilities and infrastructure with energy-efficient equipment and processes. These efforts have already trimmed annual utility costs by an estimated $400,000.

The Act! Earth campaign kicked off during the fall 2011 semester, and the University is working with Honeywell to develop educational events and student activities that promote improved practices in energy management. PhilaU and Honeywell will also communicate the University’s initiatives through digital and social media, such as an enhanced sustainability section on the website. In addition, Honeywell recently hired a graduate student from the Philadelphia University Sustainable Design program to work as an Act! Earth coordinator, and assist in organizing and managing the campaign.

“Educating people about sustainability practices is not just a feel-good exercise — it’s an important part of optimizing bottom-line energy savings that building upgrades can deliver,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. “With this program, we’re going beyond the retrofit to make a broader impact on how our campus community manages energy, ultimately driving greater economic and environmental benefits for the university.”

Act! Earth was initiated to help PhilaU fulfill its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Honeywell has helped PhilaU maintain its GHG inventory, which is the first step in the commitment process. The GHG inventory provides a comprehensive snapshot of emissions tied to university operations.

As part of the campaign, Honeywell also installed an energy dashboard kiosk in the University’s new Center for Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design (SEED Center) — a 14,000-square-foot facility built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. (The official LEED rating for the building is pending.) The web-based dashboard will pull data from electricity, gas and water meters across several campus facilities into a single, easy-to-read view to show real-time energy consumption data, energy cost savings, and carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

Act! Earth builds on a relationship established in 2001. Since that time, Honeywell has helped outfit PhilaU with a variety of building control systems and energy conservation measures across 25 campus facilities, covering more than 840,000 square feet of space or approximately 80 percent of the campus. These improvements included enhanced building controls, an energy management system and sub-metering to improve visibility into energy consumption. Honeywell also integrated the SEED Center’s heating and cooling systems, temperature controls and meters into the school’s energy management system.

To date, Philadelphia University has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 3,360 metric tons per year, which is equivalent to removing more than 650 cars off the road, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Demonstrating carbon neutrality and improving campus facilities while keeping an eye on the bottom line are pressing issues facing nearly every college and university nationwide,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “Through the awareness, communication and education efforts of the Act! Earth initiative, we are helping Philadelphia University establish a long-term energy sustainability strategy to responsibly address these challenges.”

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