Energy Management oversees the reliable, safe and efficient operation of mechanical, electrical and civil utilities systems in over 200 complex buildings on the Twin Cities campus. Home to the University’s technical and professional engineering staff, as well as a select group of skilled tradesmen, the group maintains the campus utility infrastructure and provides technical and engineering expertise to the U’s Capital Planning, Facilities Management building operations and other facilities-related units across the U of M system. The documentation of this work, in the form of engineering records and drawings is also maintained for the entire campus.
What We Do
While the responsibilities and functions of the Energy Management group are vast and complex, due to the magnitude of the University’s facilities, these functions can be grouped into the following broad categories:
- Utility Operations – The Twin Cities campus consumes more than $50 million per year in purchased utilities, with electricity and steam making up the majority of these costs. The infrastructure required to reliably and safely distribute this energy includes more than twelve miles of underground steam tunnels and four high voltage (13,800 Volt) switch stations. The Utility Operations group manages and maintains this complex infrastructure, as well as overseeing storm water management, sanitary sewer systems, municipal water distribution, chilled water distribution and compressed air systems.
- Facility Engineering and Energy Efficiency – Once utilities are distributed to the individual buildings, it is the Facility Engineering and Energy Efficiency group’s charge to make sure they are put to use in a safe and efficient manner. This group provides engineering, design and building control system expertise to the FM operations districts, Capital Planning and University Construction. This group also designs and implements system improvements to reduce energy consumption on campus. In fiscal year 2010, the Facility Engineering and Energy Efficiency group helped save the University more than $2.6 million dollars in energy costs.
- Engineering Records – With more than 200 buildings on campus, ranging from 150 years old to 150 days old, the importance of maintaining accurate, detailed engineering records is both critical and complex. The Engineering Records group is the clearinghouse of all technical facilities information on campus, using advances in computer technology to move this information from paper to electronic formats. Engineering Records also provides location services for all utilities infrastructure in support of campus construction, maintenance and repair.
How We Do It
As a utility provider, Energy Management strives to be the best in class when compared to other district energy operations including those of public municipalities, other higher education institutions and private corporations. As an engineering organization, our employees stay current with technology, leveraging innovation for safe, sustainable and reliable campus operations.
Energy Management coordinates the It All Adds Up program's energy conservation initiative, designed to reduce and optimize energy use while maintaining or improving building heating and cooling comfort. Long-term campus energy savings will come from a change in the way the campus community thinks and acts. The culture change will not happen over night, but each step counts. It all adds up.