Better heating = cold cash

Feb 8, 2013

An incentive program from Consumers Energy helped Kettering save $64,000 in cold hard cash for equipment that improves the efficiency of its steam heating system.

Jeff Converse with boiler.It’s true – sometimes it isn’t WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know that counts. Jeff Converse, senior HVAC technician for Kettering University's Physical Plant and the man in charge of the boilers that provide steam heat for the majority of buildings on campus, can attest to that.

Converse heard through vender Morris Mechanical that Consumers Energy had a rebate incentive called the Business Solutions Program, for companies that upgraded the energy efficiency of their HVAC systems – including boilers. The program would pay up to 60 percent of upgrading costs. He proposed the idea to the university and got the go-ahead to have new sensors installed that regulate fuel burn efficiency in two of Kettering’s three main boilers.

The sensors are continuously making micro-adjustments in the system resulting in a three percent improvement in energy efficiency and a reduction in the pollutants emitted. “It translates into a $27,000 per year savings in gas consumption per boiler,” said Converse.

The price tag for the new sensors was just over $64,000. While Kettering had been approved by Consumers Energy for the program in 2012, the program funds were depleted before Consumers could reimburse the University the 60 percent of upgrade costs promised. Being bumped into the 2013 budget year turned out to be in the University’s favor however. The 2013 Consumers program reimbursed the University for the full amount of almost $65,000.

Jeff Converse explains the new sensors that regulate fuel efficiency and save the University $27,000 per year in energy costs. Photo: Kettering University.Converse is now working on getting the third main boiler fitted with new sensors in addition to adding a reverse osmosis water filter to the boiler system to cut down on maintenance costs and down time.  The boilers supply heat to Thompson Residence Hall, the Campus Center, Academic Building and the Mott Engineering and Science Center.

Contact: Dawn Hibbard