August 6, 2014
The University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library uses about $144,080 worth of electricity per year, and much of that is used to heat, cool and condition the air inside (to protect the valuable books and resources it houses!)
Due to the library’s large use of energy, UMD decided to “recommission” aspects of the library’s various heating, ventilation and cooling systems to save energy and reduce expenses. Recommissioning is a process where we make sure that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are installed and operating correctly, and within the original design specifications. We were surprised to discover that a number of the systems in the library were not operating the way they were supposed to!
The library has the four main levels, and a lower level mechanical space. This lower level is where the HVAC equipment is located, and where UMD’s Maintenance & Operations Supervisor, Dave Wahlberg, led us on a tour.
UMD’s Maintenance & Operations Supervisor Dave Wahlberg, Inside a Ventilation Unit
Dave gave us a tour of lower-level mechanical room of the library, which is filled with chillers and air handling equipment.
It may not look like much, but we’d be sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter without it
UMD hired Hallberg Engineering to take a deep look at the library’s HVAC systems to see if they could find any areas where we could improve. The recommissioning project consisted of reviewing building usage, analyzing energy consumption patterns, and then coming up with possible solutions that would work for our budget. In the recommissioning world, these possible solutions are called ‘Energy Conservation Opportunities.’