Aerial view of Heritage Commons at Miami University.
Miami's Heritage Commons: First residence hall in Ohio to receive Energy StarMay 14, 2010
Miami University's Heritage Commons is the first residential hall in Ohio to receive a 2010 Energy Star from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by meeting the requirements in the categories of energy performance, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and lighting levels.
The Energy Star label signifies that Heritage Commons performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.
“We knew that Heritage Commons was a good candidate for the Energy Star rating, so we began to track its data,” Anthony Ferraro, Miami’s energy management engineer, said.
Built in 2005, Heritage Commons consists of six buildings offering 108 apartment-style living accommodations for upper class and graduate students. Each apartment contains four private bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a dining and living room. Its newer heating and air conditioning systems already operated much more efficiently than other older systems on campus.
What helped qualify it for the Energy Star rating was the complex’s automation system that was installed when the buildings were constructed. It allows personnel to regulate room temperatures based on occupancy. The system is part of a campuswide building automation system.
Since Heritage Commons has longer occupancy stays than other residence halls, the staff regulates the system on site. To reduce unnecessary heating and cooling when apartments are unoccupied, temperatures are adjusted to 62 degrees in winter and 82 degrees in summer. This resulted in an 18.8 percent reduction in steam usage during the 2009 winter break compared to the same three-week time period in 2008 for Heritage Commons. In addition, all appliances were unplugged during the break. This resulted in a 19.4 percent reduction in electricity usage.
The automation program at Heritage Commons alone resulted in a $7,378 cost savings in steam reduction over the 2009 winter break compared to winter break 2008, as well as $2,600 in electrical cost savings during the same time period.
“The staff at Heritage Commons meticulously monitored their buildings to best conserve energy throughout the year,” Matt Frericks, director of auxiliary construction and facilities at Miami, said. “Housing dining and guest services’ LEAN Improved Energy Efficiency committee, along with physical facilities, continue to look for ways to reduce energy consumption, while maintaining quality, comfort and service.”