lights save DMC
over $1 million
By Alexandria Rodriguez / Reporter
Del Mar College saved $1.1 million in 2013 by implementing energy saving changes.
Rod Carpenter, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing superintendent, said he uses a program called INET, which allows him to look into every classroom and control everything from a computer.
“We always have access to building temperatures,” Carpenter said. “We control the outside lights, water tanks, anything that uses consumption at the college.”
With the program Carpenter can control when something is on or off and can turn off unnecessary settings to drop excessive use of consumption. The program can also track and record how much energy each building consumes every day. Emails are sent to Carpenter if there are problems in a building, which allows them to respond before any more damage or loss occurs.
“It’s a 24-hour job,” Carpenter said. “We have five full-time employees that do all repairs and requests for all the DMC locations.”
In 2011 DMC spent about $3 million on electricity, according to Carpenter. An energy benchmarking report for DMC reported that the college has since brought the cost down to $2.3 million. The college has also dropped water consumption by controlling cooling towers.
“We get rebates through the city because we put meters on water being used,” Carpenter said. “We’re able to save the college a significant amount of money just by being able to monitor and read energy usage.”
AEP gives DMC rebates for making changes that are environmentally friendly, according to Carpenter. AEP also pays DMC to “go off the grid,” which means the school adjusts settings to drop consumption. The school also recycles old light bulbs to avoid wasting any materials.
“We are currently changing parking lights to a ‘T5’ bulb, which uses about a tenth of the energy that the current bulbs use,” Carpenter said. “We are going in the entire campuses and changing all T12 older bulbs to T8s, which burn less energy, burn cooler and are brighter.”
Cesar Velez, lead HVAC tech, said DMC is setting the bar for local institutions.
“Others are looking at how we do things, so they can save money also,” Velez said. “We have the software to make it all possible and the hardware to go with it.”
According to Velez the changes are helping employees understand more about consumption rather than just turning machines on and off.
New software called Structure Ware will soon be implemented at DMC. The software allows buildings to optimize, which tells the system that buildings are satisfied with the amount of energy they have at the time. Instead of supplying large amounts of energy all the time, the only thing that will be supplied to each building is what is needed, according to Carpenter.
“We try to maintain a balance so we are not wasting energy,” Carpenter said. “We are always looking for ways to save energy.”