WALNUT, CA — After being awarded a $5.8 million contract, CMS Viron is undertaking a three-pronged approach in order to reduce overall peak energy demand for Mt. San Antonio Community College. The plan includes lighting upgrades with retrofits of all interior lighting systems, the installation of a campus-wide digital energy management system, and the replacement of a thermal cooling system with a more energy efficient system.

Sparked by soaring energy costs and California's energy difficulties, the college solicited CMS Viron for help in building an on-site power plant. "Rather than getting into the power plant operations business, our recommendation was to first reduce the amount of energy the college uses by installing energy efficient equipment that will upgrade their buildings and campus and second, to use the majority of electricity at the least expensive point in the day," said Kendra Marks, account executive. "An engineering analysis could then determine other possible upgrades that would avoid construction of a power plant."

With California's recent energy crisis, the college was suddenly faced with ongoing power interruptions and high costs for not being able to reduce power consumption, according to the college. The college asserted that in recent months, electric rates have increased by as much as 40%.

"CMS Viron has guaranteed to reduce electricity demand by at least 1.5 megawatts per year, which is about $600,000, with the upgrades," said Nancy Rice, vice president of administrative services. "Phase I should pay for itself in savings within five years."

The college is also looking at a Phase II of the energy savings plan with CMS

Viron. This would include long-term facility improvements such as heating and cooling system upgrades, a central cooling/heating plant that would use very cold or hot water to cool or heat rooms, outside lighting upgrades, water conservation and irrigation systems, and distributed generation.

Publication date: 10/22/2001