Washington College has joined forces with FESCO Energy to help the College reduce carbon emissions while improving energy efficiency and resilience, a major step toward implementing a vigorous and sustainable College-wide energy policy. The College has signed a Master Energy Services Agreement with the Frederick, Maryland company to develop and implement methods that will help the College reduce its energy demand, costs, and carbon footprint. By analyzing and implementing low- and no-emissions energy generation, storage technologies, and energy conservation solutions, the partnership will provide the College increased energy security and limit its dependence on the power grid.
“The agreement secures a long-term approach to reduce our energy consumption and expenses by upgrading our infrastructure and our processes, and we plan to proceed using a shared-savings approach wherever possible,” says Greg Farley, the College’s Director of Sustainability. “All of this will result in a robust energy strategy and policy, which we will use to drive innovation and enact energy security. I think institutions generally in the higher-ed sector haven’t had to think about comprehensive energy strategy from anything but a price perspective, and this gives us a chance to take at strategic look at energy use, procurement, security,and waste in a strategic way.”
FESCO, which in its first six months of operation earned a 2018 Innovator of the Year award from the Maryland Clean Energy Center, was formed to change the way customers manage and optimize their energy use, maximize energy efficiency, and employ the latest technology to manage and produce clean, secure, and grid-independent energy. In the process, FESCO’s customers will become more resilient to volatility in electricity supply and pricing, reduce their energy expenses, and minimize their site-specific impact to climate change. The company’s work with Washington College will pursue all of these goals.
“We are thrilled to help Washington College revolutionize the energy value stream,” says John Dukes, FESCO’s president. “This commitment is a revolutionary leap forward in securing energy resiliency and budget control by implementing energy-related projects that are sustainable, durable, and cost effective. By fully leveraging its annual energy expenses and committing those dollars to acquiring the energy services to meet their clearly defined goals, the College has set the template for others to follow. These services will ensure the College can withstand long-term power outages without additional expense, replace inefficient equipment with the newest equipment to enhance student and faculty comfort and controllability, and reduce overall site air emissions simply by changing what they expect from an energy provider.”
FESCO and Washington College are performing energy and infrastructure audits to identify opportunities for demand reduction and energy security. This work has already begun with examination of the electrical and thermal infrastructure, HVAC, and building control systems in several target buildings.
Early projects being examined include a combined heat and power energy generation plant; privatizating electrical and thermal infrastructure; modernizing HVAC systems and campus wide controls; adding motion-activated set back controls to ensure that demand consumption like HVAC and lights go off when no one is present in an area; and repairing and improving building automation systems so that energy use can be automatically adjusted for more efficient use.
Over the long term, Washington College aspires to cut its energy use significantly by upgrading infrastructure and building a culture of conservation, so that faculty, staff, and students make a conscious effort to turn off lights when they leave a room, unplug computer chargers that are not in use, or adjust the thermostat to use less energy when no one is occupying a room or building—to name just a few examples. Significant reduction in energy use, and the potential installation of cyber-secure, grid-independent electricity generation on campus, will work towards a goal of campus carbon neutrality and greater resilience for the campus and the surrounding community.
These goals coincide with the College’s new emphasis on environmental practices, and with improvements to waste-stream management, water efficiency, and remediation of stormwater runoff for the Chestertown campus. Improvements and upgrades will also serve to make the campus into a “learning laboratory” for students who are focusing on the study of the environment, and will help prepare all Washington College graduates for success in the climate-changed future they will inherit upon graduation.
About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.
About FESCO Energy
FESCO Energy provides complete turnkey energy supply, demand and resiliency projects managed by an executive team with over 80 combined years of proven experience. Based in Frederick, Maryland, FESCO develops and implements energy efficiency, distributed generation, renewable energy, water conservation, operations and maintenance, and provides electricity and natural gas commodity contracts nationally for educational, public sector, commercial, and industrial customers. It helps customers develop electricity and natural gas cost-of-service analysis and advises on rate designs using a cloud-based analytics platform that ensures the right rate based on customer usage patterns.