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Centrica Business Solutions Case Study: Lewis and Clark Community College Infuses Education and Sustainability

In line with their carbon neutrality road map, the Illinois higher education institution leverages over $185,000 in incentives and grants to implement energy efficiency and infrastructure upgrades at their N. O. Nelson campus with no upfront cost.

Sustainability at the forefront

Lewis and Clark Community College is a two-year higher education institution founded in 1970 and serves over 12,000 students at several campuses across Illinois.

In 2008, Lewis and Clark created an Office of Sustainability and completed their Climate Action Plan as a road map toward becoming a carbon-neutral campus in 50 years – by 2058. A part of the Illinois Green Economy Network, they infuse education with sustainable practices and promote green living and working practices across their community. According to Nathaniel Keener, Director of Sustainability at Lewis and Clark, “We wanted to be part of the solution and be at the forefront of providing academic and work experiences for the next generation.”

Lewis and Clark had been retrofitting campus buildings but wanted to continue energy efficiency measures. Their N. O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville consists of four historic buildings that were not using energy efficiently. During year 14 of their 50-year Climate Action Plan, they partnered with Centrica Business Solutions to implement a range of measures to boost the efficiency and sustainability of these four buildings.

Leveraging grants and incentives

Centrica Business Solutions performed a study of the four buildings to identify energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements that Lewis and Clark could make to reduce energy consumption. This study was part of an incentive program offered through Ameren Illinois’ Retro Commissioning Lite (RCx Lite) program. Centrica Business Solutions helped Lewis and Clark secure over $25,000 in utility incentives to go directly toward the project cost. In addition, they helped Lewis and Clark apply for and secure a $160,000 grant. The grant and incentives entirely funded Lewis and Clark’s project – Lewis and Clark did not need any upfront capital, making this a cash flow positive project from day one.

A range of measures enables Lewis and Clark to reduce their energy costs, improve their campus environment, and provide more operational control over their equipment and systems. Centrica Business Solutions upgraded existing fluorescent lighting to LED, implemented building envelope improvements, and installed pipe insulation. They also optimized their HVAC controls by scheduling updates to ensure temperatures are set appropriately for when buildings are occupied and unoccupied.

The results

With these upgrades, Lewis and Clark will save over $17,000 in annual utility costs, money they can invest in their students instead of overhead costs. Centrica Business Solutions guarantees these savings and performs yearly measurement and verification.

The lighting improvements will simplify maintenance and offer better light quality. The building envelope improvements will reduce infiltration. The pipe insulation will prevent costly heat loss and enhance control over temperatures, which provides better comfort for occupants. The HVAC control optimization ensures buildings are not being unnecessarily heated or cooled when unoccupied.

Lewis in Clark believes it is important to educate their students and their community about sustainability, taking a multi-prong approach to enhance sustainability on campus, in their curriculum, in career programs, and in the community. In that vein, Centrica Business Solutions provided an educational component by presenting the project to students enrolled in the college’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification class.

View the full case study: Lewis and Clark Community College improves efficiency and infrastructure | Centrica Business Solutions.