USF Sarasota-Manatee Goes Icy Green

The University of South Florida (USF) Sarasota-Manatee campus is going from air to water to keep things cool -- and green.

The campus' new central energy chiller plant, which went into operation on March 17, replaces its air-cooled system with a water-cooled one that stores ice at night. The ice is used to cool the cooling system the following morning.

Richard Lyttle, director of facilities planning and management for the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, says the new system should save energy and costs.

"This system's more efficient," he says. "And because it makes ice during the night hours, the rates are cheaper. Our night rates will go down now that we're not using all that expensive equipment."

Lyttle says the new chiller system is the first of its kind in the USF campus network, and part of a bigger plan to make and keep the university sustainable.

"We are preparing an application to get the entire campus LEED certified for operations," he says. "We're fairly energy efficient now, but it's motivating us to do more. We've engaged a consulting team to help us determine what we still need to get done. We think we have enough for silver but are going for gold. Within the next six months, we'll know which one we'll be going for."

According to Lyttle, other efforts to make the campus more environmentally responsible include changing its energy consumption habits by using only high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting, occupant sensors for both lighting and air-conditioning in building classrooms and reducing operations of major equipment at night and on weekends.

"We've accomplished several cost-saving measures, but the air conditioning system was the big one to get past," says Lyttle.

Source: Richard Lyttle, USF Sarasota-Manatee
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh

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