Performance Contract Phase1
George Mason University and Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., partners in
Energy Management and Conservation.
In April of 2005, George Mason University and Siemens Building Technologies reached agreement on a 15
year energy performance contract that will save GMU a minimum of $1 million per year in energy costs.
The construction phase of the project concluded in September of 2006. Siemens upgraded the university’s
lighting system by retrofitting or replacing more than 55,000 lamps with energy efficient lighting that will
save 16 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. HVAC system upgrades included boiler and chiller
replacements in Thompson Hall, and the CHCP plant. Large motors for air handling units and pumps were
replaced with energy saving high efficiency motors. Cooling coils on air handling units were pressure cleaned
to increase air flow and reduce energy. Water conservation projects included water saving aerators on
all faucets, low flush toilets, low flow shower heads and retrofitting existing urinals with water saving
flush valves. Older control modules were replaced with the most up to date version to utilize faster network
speeds and implement more comprehensive energy saving routines.
In addition to the work of upgrading and retrofitting the systems, Siemens assisted George Mason in
finding a favorable interest rate of 3.81% for financing the cost of the project. The savings generated by
the upgrades and retrofits will cover not only the project’s cost but the financing as well. Since 1983,
Siemens had been a valuable partner in helping George Mason University lead the way in Energy
Conservation and Energy Management.
PC1 – Projects
– University Lighting Upgrade Project
Upgrading the existing fluorescent lighting systems from T12 lamps with magnetic ballasts to T8 lamps with
electronic ballasts can generate considerable savings. The latter type of lighting system is now the norm for
new construction due to its significant energy savings potential, as much as a 45% reduction in lamp and
– University Water Conservation Project
Upgrading the existing plumbing fixtures with low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets that reduce water
consumption by as much as 50%. These measures will also reduce energy consumption and cost for domestic
hot water and sewage fees.
– Energy Management System Installation Project
Installation of a comprehensive, integrated facility energy management system utilizing an Ethernet based
system to link each facility to the energy management office would generate significant savings through
improved monitoring and control capability for key systems : heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
Verification of proper temperature, setpoints, setback or shutdown of systems, monitoring of energy usage(near)
real-time and detection of degraded energy efficiency would all contribute to more efficient operation
and expected savings.
PC1 – Lights, Energy, Action
Many of you may have noticed a change in the lighting in buildings all across campus.
GMU’s Energy Department is in the midst of retrofitting or replacing all the lighting fixtures in an
effort to reduce lighting energy consumption by as much as 75% in some cases.
Many of the lighting fixtures are original to the buildings’ construction and generally consist of four
fluorescent lamps with two magnetic ballasts that consume approximately 160 watts of power.
The new energy efficient fixture draw only 88 watts and consist of only two lamps and one
electronic ballast. That is a 45% reduction in power consumption as well as energy costs.
At an average annual use of 4,000 hours and GMU’s rate of approximately four cents per
kilowatt-hour, each old fixture cost over $22 annually to operate. The new fixture cost less
than $10 to operate annually. Multiply that by the estimated 19,000 fixtures and you can
see how the savings can quickly add up. These fluorescent fixtures alone can save the
university over $235,000 annually in energy costs. They will continue to save energy
year after year and easily pay for themselves in a short period of time.
In addition to changing out the fluorescent fixtures, incandescent lighting is also
being replaced with compact fluorescent lamps. A typical 60 watt incandescent bulb
is replaced with a 15 watt compact fluorescent lamp. This is a 75% reduction and again,
a huge savings to the energy bill.
In both cases, the new energy efficient lamps provide better lighting at a much lower cost.
Lighting quality is greatly improved by providing equal or greater lighting levels as well as better
color rendition. This means the light is closer to natural sunlight than ever before. The new lamps
also have a longer life span that will reduce maintenance costs over the long term.
Another energy saving measure in this lighting project is the installation of occupancy sensors.
These sensors will automatically turn on the lights when a person enters a room and conversely,
turn them off when it senses a predetermined period of inactivity. This will greatly reduce energy
consumption in seldom used areas such as restrooms, conference rooms and stairwells.
Two types of sensors are being installed – wall mounted and ceiling mounted.
In the event that you need lights to be turned off and remain off regardless of occupancy,
the wall mounted sensors can be overridden by simply pushing the button twice.
It is reactivated by pushing the button once and will resume normal operation.
The ceiling mounted sensors can be controlled by using the regular wall switch that
controls the lights. By simply turning the light switch to the off position,
the sensor will be disabled. Turning the switch back on will return the sensor to
In the case of the wall mounted sensors, any furniture or objects that may obscure
the view of the sensor will have to be relocated. This will prevent the sensor from turning the
lights off even when the space is occupied. As with any changes in our physical space,
it will take time to adjust to the new lighting and occupancy sensors. With numerous reports of
heating costs doubling this winter, it is imperative for the university community to do everything possible
to reduce its energy costs now and in the future. As stewards of taxpayer and student dollars,
these lighting measures will go a long way in stretching every dollar spent on energy.
To date, all housing units as well as Robinson A and B, Science & Technology 1 and 2, Concert
Hall and Performing Arts have been completely retrofitted with the latest energy efficient lighting
technologies. On schedule for completion in the next several weeks are South Chesapeake, College Hall,
King Hall, Desktop Support, Facilities Administration, Krasnow, Innovation Hall, Harris Theater, North
PE Module, South PE Module, Lecture Hall, Police, Central Heating and Cooling Plant (CHCP), Carow Hall,
Recycling, Central Module, Field House Module, and Child Development Center 1-4.