RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Community College System (VCCS), which provides comprehensive higher education and workforce training programs in Virginia for 230,000 full- and part-time students, has partnered with the Energy Solutions Division of TAC to provide energy-saving improvements at campuses across the commonwealth.

TAC, a leader in building automation, security, and energy solutions, has begun or completed projects at 15 VCCS campuses since July 2004. Valued at more than $40 million, these projects are anticipated to save the colleges at least $1.2 million in utility costs annually, address capital improvement needs, and improve the indoor environment for faculty and students. TAC estimates that completing $60 million in energy efficiency improvements on all 40 VCCS campuses will provide annual savings of more than $2 million.

The company is delivering these projects through performance contracting, a turnkey contracting method whereby the design, construction, commissioning, and performance measurement are incorporated into one guaranteed fixed price. The projects are funded through a combination of general obligation bond funds, maintenance reserve funds, and financing secured against guaranteed energy savings. TAC guarantees the amount of savings the colleges will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

The projects implemented at VCCS campuses have included redesigning and/or replacing HVAC systems; adding energy management controls; installing energy-efficient lighting; reducing leaks in building envelopes; replacing roofs and windows; and upgrading plumbing fixtures to conserve water. TAC said that at each campus, it combined sustainable design principles and accountability through building and system commissioning.

“VCCS, like most major public institutions, was suffering from poor performance of the design-bid-build approach on major mechanical systems,” said Wes McDaniel, vice president of TAC Energy Solutions. “Shortfalls in funding and a first-cost, low-bid mentality resulted in renovations that fixed symptoms rather than causes, and new buildings that suffered from comfort issues and high energy bills from the day the doors opened.

“By partnering with TAC to manage all major mechanical projects throughout the system, VCCS can leverage the savings potential when projects are engineered, installed, and commissioned properly through performance contracting,” he said.

“Leveraging the energy savings dollars creates a funding supplement that allows VCCS to complete our major mechanical upgrade projects,” said Ed Watson, P.E., associate vice chancellor for facilities management services for VCCS.

“Through their involvement in all of our campuses, TAC has gained important institutional knowledge of our system as a whole,” he continued. “Because they have as much knowledge of our needs and challenges as our own staff, we rely on [them] to help us make wise choices regarding our facility improvements.”

So far, 15 VCCS campuses have begun or completed energy saving projects: Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave); Danville Community College (Danville); John Tyler Community College (Chester and Midlothian); Lord Fairfax Community College (Warrenton and Middletown); Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale, Manassas, and Woodbridge); Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville); Piedmont Virginia Community College (Charlottesville); Southwest Virginia Community College (Richlands); Thomas Nelson Community College (Hampton); Virginia Highlands Community College (Abingdon); and Wytheville Community College (Wytheville).

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Publication date:04/02/2007