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Feinberg gets a green checkup

July 2013 | by sustainNU

Feinberg students in labThe Feinberg School of Medicine, in partnership with NU’s Facilities Management and NORESCO, an energy services company, are working to minimize the medical school’s carbon footprint and operating costs. In winter 2012, NORESCO performed a free energy assessment and provided a preliminary proposal for several energy saving projects. After Facilities Management and the Office of Research Safety reviewed these projects, Feinberg and Northwestern University leadership determined which initiatives would move forward. 

The return on investment (ROI) of each initiative, in conjunction with the planned expansion of the Medical Campus, was the biggest determinant of the measures that were green lighted. Within five years of implementation, Feinberg is expected to save over $6.5 million.

The two projects with the highest annual savings are upgrades to the ventilation systems in laboratories and upgrades to the chilled water system that provide cooling to the campus. The project will implement demand control ventilation in the laboratories, monitoring key parameters to dynamically regulate the air change rate in each space. This has the added benefit of improving safety though constant monitoring of air quality and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition to replacing two chillers in the Searle Medical Research Building that were approaching the end of their useful life, the project will revise and automate the chiller selection strategy to maximize operating efficiency across all of the Feinberg buildings.

At this time, construction is approximately 50 percent complete. Testing and commissioning will be completed by summer 2014 and in the meantime, NU will continue the diagnosis of our buildings and infrastructure to make sure the University has a healthy and efficient energy system!