John Heinz: Today's webinar is on Changing Behavior to Save Energy at University of New Mexico. This is a near and dear topic to us because as a software company, we like to hear stories about how clients are implementing a lot of energy saving initiatives in their organization and then using software to monitor and track avoided usage and avoided savings that they've calculated due to their energy management project. So it's great to hear client stories about how they're making use of our software and hear what they're doing. So today's webinar is going to be presented by Matthew Cherrin at the University of New Mexico about how they've implemented behavior programs around the campus. So with that, let me pass it over to Matthew and floor is yours.
Matthew Cherrin: All right, thank you. Like John was saying, my name is Matthew Cherrin and I'm the Vice President of a company called Lobo Energy and I graduated from the University of New Mexico back in 2009. And right out of school, I was hired as an Energy Specialist for this Behavior Modification Program that the University wanted to implement. And since then, I've been here almost nine years and I'm now a Vice President. So it's been a great job for me. And just to give you a little back story about Lobo Energy and our relationship with the University of New Mexico. The University had an issue almost 20 years ago well before I ever started. And the rates were increasing from our local utility vendors. The equipment was aging in buildings and the demand on campus was rising. So the University decided to create Lobo Energy under the University Research Park and Economic Development Act to help solve some of these issues. So Lobo Energy came in and helped figure out putting new efficient equipment in our District Utility System. We did some lighting projects. And most recently, while I was hired, we started an energy conservation program based off behavior.
So the former President named David Schmidly, he just started at the University coming from Oklahoma State and he had already implemented a similar behavior program there. So we knew that it could work here but he needed to see if there was a need for it. So he drove around at night when nobody was here to see if there were lights being left on, if buildings were still keeping temperature during the night when nobody was there and see if there really was an opportunity to change the behavior and the culture on campus. And when he did drive around, he did see that there was tons of opportunity. So we started this program back in 2008 to really bring a dedicated focus and communication to trying to get people more aware of all the wasteful behavior that was going on. And the way that we approached that was that we created a team of five energy conservation specialist and all of us were assigned a specific section of the campus and in a number of buildings that we had to go through and try to look for energy conservation opportunities. Now just to give everybody an idea, UNM has over 12 million usable square feet and we have six branch campuses along with our main campus and north campus and south campus.
And in our main campus area, we have five maintenance areas including the hospital. And so all of us were kind of luckily assigned a specific area. There was one person for area one buildings, one person for area two and then so on but we kind of mix and match some people crossing over to different areas but trying to figure out who would be responsible for these sections of the buildings. So our goal again was to constantly search for nickels and dimes whether it was a problem with the light staying on when nobody was there or computers or monitors or finding issues with an HVAC equipment, we are always looking for those zero to low cost opportunities that we could hopefully turn around without anybody really having to put a lot of financial backing into it. So we would do audits of the HVAC and lighting systems and we're always looking for those failures and successes. So if we tried to implement everybody to turn off the lights then we'd go back through the next week to see if that was actually something that was achieved or not. Same with if we end up saving a bunch of energy or reduce energy consumption, we want to go and make sure that we know the reason why and really take note of those successes or those failures.
And we're going to be the ones who are continuously monitoring the people in the systems to make sure that those always stay the way they are working as efficiently as possible. So just to give everybody kind of a back story, the University has avoided around 22% of our total energy usage since 2008 and that's millions and millions of dollars that we didn't have to pay the local utility companies compared to now. And our program is really just a small piece of that. Of course, the engineers are putting in high efficiency equipment and the people in the buildings are the ones who are actually helping us save the energy but we're just a small piece. Our energy conservation program really is something that happens throughout the entire UNM community. So we're focusing on kind of making sure all those silos are communicating with each other and they're aware of all the wasteful behavior. So we're the ones in the building who are now going to communicate with personnel and make sure that they're aware of all the wasteful habits or the opportunities that are available, right? We're bringing in dedicated focus to something that people can really get together on and say man, we've really achieved a really good goal here.
So we're communicating with people and we're learning who is responsible for the buildings between the people in there and our Physical Plant Department. Our Physical Plant Department is obviously key into any energy conservation opportunity because they're the ones that are maybe putting in that high-efficiency equipment or fixing an issue and really helping us address problems quicker so that they don't become long-term issues and cost us more money and energy. So we're trying to change the culture when we first started from somebody just saying oh, you know what, I'm just going to leave my computer on all night or leaving their lights on to just kind of being aware, right? You want to be aware of these wasteful habits and that's just not the person in the building, that's also maybe the HVAC mechanic who is changed a schedule to 24 hours a day, so we could fix an issue but forgot to change it back to a 6 AM to 10 PM schedule, so that you could save some energy in the middle of the night when nobody is there.
So its kind -- it is about turning off lights and computers but it's also about making sure that you're constantly looking at these HVAC and lighting systems to see if you are running them the way that they were designed to be run and that's kind of our goal. We're doing a continuous commissioning process as long as -- as well as energy audits. So we're also doing all the measurement and verification. And every organization really has a data that they can pull and they can monitor what's going on, but unless somebody is constantly looking at that data, you're not sure exactly what the data is telling you. You really need the data to tell a story and that's I think where we kind of fit in with the dedicated focus as we've become the storytellers of our energy conservation program because we look at the data monthly to make sure that all levels are working compared to what they were doing last year and compared to our baseline year. If you don't have somebody doing that then issues might arise that are missed. Like if you're at home and you get a water bill that was $200 more than what you were using last year, you're going to say, okay, well what changed, right? And that's where we're here is kind of to become the storyteller and tell you how that did change and where our energy conservation numbers are at currently so that everybody really understands how this program is working.
So the way that we started with our program was that we needed to collect data. Without data, there is no way of figuring out how your program is actually benefiting the university. So we had to figure out how are we going to collect data. And we have two different real sources that we pull from. The University of New Mexico has a District Energy System where we can create almost 13 megawatts of power through cogeneration and we produce chill water electricity and steam. We make electricity with natural gas and then from the wasted heat we capture that and make steam and then we have a chiller plant. So we have a District Energy System that had meters that we are pulling from. And then we have our local utility companies for all the off-site buildings around in Albuquerque. And then we have the branch campuses too that we work with their local utility companies to gather that data. And then, we needed a place to store that data. And that's where EnergyCAP has been such a great tool for the University of New Mexico because we might have already had interval data because we have chill water steam electricity measured through our main campus, but we didn't have a way of just looking at it in a very easy monthly basis.
So we are taking our local utility company data and our interval data and we are putting it into EnergyCAP. Now if you don't have EnergyCAP, Excel is a great tool, just you have to have some type of way of storing it. But EnergyCAP has just made so many processes a lot faster and easier for us. And then you have to of course have someone who is always looking at the data. So like I said, we have an interval data system where we can actually pull data by the hour to help figure out what are our consumption patterns on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. So right here in our graphic, we all only have to put a building right here. So in this case it was the math and science learning center. We put the dates and then we can calculate what that building was using within that time frame. So it's made our job a lot easier. And then, we have the local utilities for our branch campuses and off-site buildings. And we set up profiles online so that we could pull data in a quick manner, so that we didn't have to call them or wait for the bill to come in. New Mexico Gas Company and PNM, they all have ways of creating profiles so that you can just download the data immediately. So these are our local utility providers and we have figured out some type of way to gather that data and get it into ECAP.
So we take EnergyCAP and its allowed us from that data to create import processes. So we take our District Energy System data through interval, interval data and then we download it and then EnergyCAP helped us create an import sheet that we basically transport data from one page to the other and then we upload it and it's done and it's a very easy process. We also use the Bill CAPture Service for our vendors. We didn't used to do this. We used to manually enter them by hand. And that would take a long time even though it's still worth it. But the Bill CAPture Service has basically reduced a three hour, four hour project of just getting the data in the ECAP to within a 30 minutes you're done after you send them the bills, you scan them, you send them to EnergyCAP, they upload them for you and it's in ECAP. And the best part about Bill CAPture is it kind of taken away that user error that where you might be typing in a bill and you might have hit an eight instead of a seven and collecting all the other parts of the bill that we really weren't focused on. For instance, we only would put usage and cost into ECAP and these are kind of putting all the other metrics that come with it too. So the Bill CAPture Service has been great for us.
But we do still have some bills that are being manually entered into the software. And those are for kind of the other vendors that really we don't need Bill CAPture for because it's only a few different bills but it doesn't take that long either. And then we use the web version of EnergyCAP. It used to be just a desktop version but ever since it went to internet based, we've allowed other people around the University to actually get into ECAP and look at their data for their internal purposes. So that's kind of how this data is being manipulated to get into the system and who is using it. And these are all the things that we are using EnergyCAP for. I specifically am working on the measurement and verification, so I look at account and meter tracking, our bill entry and auditing and definitely the cost avoidance and use avoidance where we have other engineers and other departments around the University that are using budgets that are using energy use intensity, use vs. weather. And we're going to really start with the new version kind of focusing on getting our dashboards in place. But these are the things that the University right now is using EnergyCAP for.
So like I said, after you get the data into ECAP, there has to be one person assigned to look at the monthly consumption and keep track of the overall numbers of the program. If you don't have the numbers and you don't have that person focusing on it then you can't really verify what you're doing in the building is actually making a difference. So for the first few months that I first started, I was assigned a hospital building so we actually didn't have any data in EnergyCAP for those buildings. So I would always be sitting there scratching my head wondering if some of the energy conservation opportunities that we were implementing actually were affecting the overall numbers. And without the overall numbers, you're also not able to make the other people buy into your program as well, right by showing them what your cost avoidance is and what your usage avoidance is. And you always have to have a baseline that you're comparing back to. Now your baseline over a 10-year period is going to -- that building is going to change dramatically. And so you -- but you set the baseline and decide what are you always going to compare back to, to make sure that you're not going back to the same negative patterns that were making your energy usage spike, right?
So for us at the University in New Mexico, the baseline is May 2007 to May 2008. So every month and every year we're comparing back to that timeline. And if it's something is over that amount and we're going to go and we're going to check out that building and see what changed. And if something dramatically changed to reduce the energy consumption, we're also going to check it out to make sure that every amount of well, we use MMBTUs for universal units but it could be KWH, it could ton hours, all units are basically counted forth, so that you can easily calculate your cost and usage avoidance and really tell the story of how the University or how your organization is avoiding energy. So we make reports for like I said the occupants and the administration because your HVAC tech might not be willing to help you if he doesn't see that it actually does make a difference. Or your building manager might not let you set back the temperatures at night if it's not actually saving or reducing energy in the building. So you really have to figure out who you're talking to, who your audience is and show them the reports that helps them figure out their job.
Some people might be interested in expenses in the financial and then you'll have the other person who is really interested in the environment and reducing carbon footprint. And so each type of audience has a different report that tailors to them and that's kind of how EnergyCAP has helped us is that we have a usage avoidance report that we give to the people in the buildings. But we can also give cost avoidance report to the financial administration so they can really see the difference on both sides of our program. So you have to find the audience and you have to show them how what they're doing is actually helping the program. And so, you need to figure out who your champions are in and outside of the building. For us, building managers are huge and department managers, these are the people who are letting us do our schedules, who are communicating with us if there are issues with comfort or with systems in general like lighting systems. And these are the people who you are always going to be talking to because their job the personnel doesn't really have a big changeover. Now students and teachers they're huge too. They changeover a little bit more, so you always have to be kind of reintroducing the program to these types of people.
And then of course, the custodians and security they're also like the building managers and department managers, they can be really useful in making sure that things are being set back at night or lights are being turned off or that we can actually schedule around some of these things to make sure that they're comfortable when they're going through the building and that everybody is really involved in this community-wide effort. And then you have your team outside the buildings. Your champions that you need on your side to get anything done and these are your physical plant people, the maintenance team, the engineers, the scheduling people who are sending you to classrooms are actually being available when nobody is there. We have an energy controls department that for automate logic and delta help us do all the schedules or help us find issues within equipment and really address them before they become bigger issues. Deans and department heads, these are all your champions outside of the building that you need to be able to get your program going. And then like I said, you have to know who you're talking to. Is this environment financial comfort? Is this a professional personality? Is this something that really you need to figure out how they vary between each type of person?
And then some of these issues that arise or some of these conservation opportunities, you don't really want to force the issue down to these people throughout because these are your champions and they're going to help you do it. But in the end, the University is here to help provide a culture of learning and getting their job. The people who work for the University getting their job done and we're not trying to get in the way of their job. When we first started people thought that we were going to go through the buildings and turn off the lights on them in the middle of class or in the middle of work. And that we were going to freeze everybody out so that we could save energy and that's really not what we're trying to do because once you do that and let's say, you do that to the athletic department, you're going to have a coach calling a Vice President and he is going to be complaining. And then all of a sudden your program is stopped and strapped because you can't use some of the things you need to.
So you really have to work with these people, suggest trial runs and making recommendations, so that they know that you're not here to change anything without their permission and you're here really to work with them say hey, if we're not doing this, can we save some energy. And then like I said, you have to prove that worth with ideas and data you always have to give feedback. And that'll kind of go into our flowchart that I'll show you here in a little bit. For the Energy Conservation Specialist, it was really important for us to learn the building systems. So that when we were talking about issues with our Physical Plant Department, we could not sound like we didn't know what we were talking about. So we always say when you first start, you have to figure out where the meters are located, what type of systems does the building use to heat and cool, is it a rooftop unit, is it a dual duct system, single duct, multi zone unit, where are the mechanical rooms located? A lot of buildings had different had the mechanical room on each floor sometimes or one giant one in the basement. And so you need to be able to describe where that problem is if you see one.
Sub panels, where the valves located, going in for us from the District Energy System, the lines going into the building or coming out. Does the building have its own heating system too? Is it a boiler? Or does it have the steam system? Constant air volume or variable air volume systems? You need to make sure that you can talk about these parts of the HVAC equipment clearly, so that like I said, you have a little bit of credibility and then you want to know what kind of lights you have, what kind of control systems, does it have daylight harvesting and security lights. All these things really help you build credentials for talking and speaking with your Physical Plant Department. And then this is kind of doesn't seem as important but you really do want to know what kind of space type and building that you're working with because each building is going to have a different type of function. Obviously, if it's a residential hall, you're not going to be able to do temperature setbacks, right, because there are people living there 24 hours a day.
If it's a research area, you're probably not going to be able to setback temperatures if there is labs and research going on there because you can't get in the way of those experiments. Is it an office building because then you can actually do probably a normal daily 40 hour a week schedule to work around. When everybody is there from eight to five, you can set that temperature to be unoccupied when nobody is there. So you really have to know what kind of space you're working with and the building type. So after you kind of get this really good idea of data and what the systems are, who you need to talk to, you can really start to begin our program. And so it would take us months to kind of get all these things in line. But after you do that and you have good documentation then it becomes a very monotonous program where you have to wake up and do the same thing over and over a day. Again, so it's kind of like we like to say it's kind of like a donut shop, right? Every morning, you have to wake up, get there in the morning and start doing what you need to do to get your donuts ready for when the building opens, right? Or for when your donut shop opens, so that when people come in, you can just hand them the donuts and for us it's the same thing.
Every week we have to get ready and do kind of the same audits and the same commissioning. It's a very rinse, lather and repeat process so that we can find some of these issues before they get bigger. And so we have to make sure that if we keep doing these things over and over again, the occupants and Physical Plant Department know that our program is here to stay and it's not going away. I think a lot of people thought that this is only going to be a couple of year thing and then we'd be fine. But after seeing the results and after seeing us going through the buildings over and over again, I think people really realize that we are here to stay and every single year we got a little bit more positive feedback and more people on our side to try to help us do what we're doing. And so once they figured out we were going to never stop looking for those failures and successes, the program really took off. So we're kind of the eyes and ears of the program, right? We're not the ones fixing the issues. We're not the ones putting in the new HVAC equipment and higher efficiency equipment. But we're the ones who are always kind of looking for that stuff and making sure that the engineers and the people in the building and the maintenance department are aware of all the problems that might be there or all the successes, right?
We're bringing that dedicated focus to consistently look at the HVAC issues because heating and cooling equipment I don't care where you are. At one point it's going to fail in some way, right and you're going to be using more energy than you should be. So we're just here to relay those problems, so that they know about it and then they can fix those in a timely manner. Just to give you an idea of an issue that the University had is we had a steam leak by our law school for years. And because that issue wasn't fixed in a timely matter, it probably ended up costing us a lot more money not to fix it than it was to get it done immediately, right? And there is always going to be an issue we’re trying to fix that problem as fast as you can because you have budgets that you're trying to work within and you were already planning on spending that money in a different way. But some of these issues if they're not fixed in a timely matter or if they don't know about it, they end up making your budget become less and less because you're paying more to the utility company or for us to our District Energy System or Plant. So we are the ones who are kind of communicating to get those issues fixed in a much quicker manner.
And then we're always following up or always bugging people to just kind of be aware that this is still not fixed. We just put in a new control system in one of our buildings and we haven't yet put a new schedule on because it's a new system and we're trying to work out some of the kinks and there are some issues that still need to be figured out. But the longer that it's not being -- schedule is not being implemented then it's more usage and more cost that is affecting the University. So we're just we're obviously if it needs to go in a certain order, we understand but we're always still going to remind people just so that they're aware that this is causing energy to spike and expenses to go up. So this is kind of our energy conservation process flow chart. And like I said, this always starts with dedicated focus. You have to have somebody looking at these things. And for us, the four main parts of it are the utility management getting the data in there, doing audits and the commissioning, energy conservation opportunities and communication. And you can go down through your EnergyCAP and your bills and you can look for those outliers that are saying hey, where are we spiking? Where are we reducing? Where is their inefficient consumption patterns?
And that can lead to an audit, that can lead to communication, that can lead to an opportunity. But in the end, all these kind of end at energy conservation because if you then look at the audit and you look for problems or you find that opportunity, you're communicating that and issues are being fixed and opportunities are being realized and you're actually saving energy now or reducing energy consumption. So this is kind of our process flow chart that we use here at the University to capture those. So just to kind of go over those areas is like I said, we're always searching for outliers. I meet with my team on a monthly basis and we go through some of the reports that we've created to figure out what's going on and I'll show you those reports that we use. But we'll sit there and we'll say this building uses 20% more energy, what changed and then we'll do some research and we'll find that a schedule got changed and nobody put it back. Or that we had a broken valve on the chill water and it's the middle winter and we're using a lot of chill water for no reason.
So we're looking for those spikes and reductions, we're doing on-site and online audits. So we're very fortunate at the University of New Mexico to have a lot of DDC controls. We use the automated logic and we use Delta Control Systems. And we can go into our office and see if everything is working accordingly. And then we also do unoccupied audits and we go through the buildings and mechanical rooms to see that if nobody is here, how is the building functioning during unoccupied hours. And then we're communicating that to keep building personnel and we're discussing those numbers and those issues with the maintenance team. And so we look at the data from a campus level to a building level to a meter level. And this kind of gives us a focus of where we should prioritize some of our audits and some of our focus for the upcoming week. So here is one of the reports that we use on a monthly basis. So this will be for a specific person. So I have an Energy Conservation Specialist assigned to every area like I spoke of and we would pull up their buildings in one big collective universal unit of MMBTUs. And the higher the number here actually the better. We're looking for this is an avoided use by performance here.
So we're just looking at usage and trying to see, are we doing better compared to our baseline here back in 2008 or are we doing worse? And we're doing it on a month-to-month basis and we're combining all utilities together. And then we take the same report and we break it down by commodity. So then we also have this for all the buildings but just electricity. And then we have one for this but it's just chill water. And that way, if we see a reduction like you can kind of see in February here, we can go back and see well, which commodity was it. Was it electricity? Was it steam? And that gives us the focus on which building is to kind of look at. Then we go over the building data like I said. So this is one of our energy conservation specialist report. And you can see that it gives you a use avoidance percentage compared back to our actual usage back in our baseline year. So we take the current conditions or baseline adjusted to current conditions and then our actual usage and we come up with a number. And so, Dane Smith, I know is a building that's usually in the 20% range, what happened this month? Or Laguna Hall saved 34%, how did we achieve that?
So we're always looking for those ways to figure out what's going on in the buildings good or bad. And then we go down to the meter level. So after you figure out which building and which commodity is not doing well, you can go right to that meter and see exactly what's happening. So this is a normalized report. So we're taking data and we're comparing it back to our baseline year during certain weather or heating degree days, cooling degree days, square footage, definitely weather patterns and making sure that we're at least trying to compare it as close as we can apples-to-apples. So you can see in February where you have this 131 if the number is red, it means it's higher than our previous year by more than 10%. And if the space is yellow then it's higher than our baseline year by more than 10%. And so this gives us really quick ways of identifying issues or identifying successes on a monthly basis. So in this case, for Dane Smith like I said, it's usually 20% but we used a lot more steam, we would then go and check the heating system to make sure that it's running the way that it's designed to. So then after we do the data, we do our ASHRAE level one and two energy audits. These are simple audits. We're always looking for zero to low cost initiatives for our most energy level one and two audits. The level one is that you're basically doing walkthroughs, you're doing brief interviews with the people, you're looking at the usage.
And then level twos are like I said those zero to low cost initiatives where you're taking what you learned in level one and taking it kind of to the next level. So this could be with that building envelope, lighting, HVAC, occupancy behavior but you're going back through and kind of trying to identify the larger issues. And then these findings for your audits should really be able to be implemented in a timely matter with zero to low financial backing. When you're doing a level three energy audit, that's kind of when you're saying, all right, let's do a complete replacement of lights or let's put in a whole new HVAC system. These are very zero to low cost initiatives because you're going to let the engineers do what they need to do for the lighting and the upgrades and let them focus on that while you're focusing on the little things. So then you're going through like I said, you're doing your online audit, your physical audit and these are the things that you're kind of looking for. So you pull up your handler unit, you're looking for schedules, you're looking for set points, you want to make sure that the Delta T is right.
If you have a very low Delta T there might be a problem or high. You want to make sure that the mixed air temperature is good. The outside air isn't bringing in too hot of air that's making you cool more or open your valve more to cool quicker. Valve positions, discharge air, these are all things that you need to weekly look at so that you can make sure that your building is working like it was designed to. And then during unoccupied audits, our team goes through when nobody is there. This could be at 5 AM or after at 10 PM and you're making notes about what you're seeing in the building and what type of opportunities there are. And then you're communicating your findings to the correct personnel so that they know that okay, that's because this happened let me change that real quick. And then, you have to make sure that after you do communicate that problem that the issue actually does get resolved. And then you can also go and do an occupied seeing people's behavior during the occupied timeframe. See how the general climate is of the area.
Sometimes you'll be walking through and you'll see somebody is wearing a sweatshirt because it's super cold there. And then that might give you a hint that you're over cooling in an area, right or that everybody has a different needs when it comes to comfort and maybe that's all you can do kind of the help at that time is to be there and let them kind of express their frustration over it. But talking to the occupants really gives you a better idea that the system is actually working the way it's supposed to work. There is an opportunity to save some energy. Then you want to communicate the occupant’s feedback to the maintenance people. So those are kind of our audits. And then we also do like I said our continuous commissioning. And we go through the buildings and we make sure that they're working the way they were designed. Audits are really used for finding opportunities. These are kind of look to make sure that you're running it the way it was supposed to be run from the beginning. Now every building during its lifetime might change, right?
A lot of professors or people in the buildings, they might have a need where you've added an extra layer of HVAC to the building. All of a sudden the way that that building was designed isn’t really isn't how it's supposed to be run today, right because you need to do it differently to meet other needs. So you have to figure out what that baseline is yourself and make sure that it's also going back to your performance baselines and the comfort in the building and working with the people to make sure that it's everybody is doing okay. For us, we have Building Utility Management Panels, so we've actually in our District Energy System we put little notes on these BUMP system panels to tell us what our seasonal data measures are. So if we see that the KWH at 3 o'clock is above our baseline then we might look more into it and say what's happening or same with water, same with steam and we have little note cards on these BUMP panels that gives us the timeframe that they should be using this amount of energy in the season. And then we're going to examine again comfort problems and failures and what's really making the system inefficient.
And then, we'll identify the changes and then we'll relay that communication to the right people. And you know, like I said, this is a very monotonous program where you're always going back through and doing kind of the same things and it's focused around dedication to energy conservation and communication. So if I sound like I'm kind of being redundant it's because it's very redundant process in general but we've seen great results come out of it. And then like I said, you're going to track and verify that energy usage after every month, you'll say you know what, we just put this opportunity into play at the business center, how is it doing this year or this next month. So you want to see if what you actually doing is helping the overall program. And you're going to repeat the process. So just to give you guys an idea, this is just zero cost energy conservation opportunities like we talked about schedules, turning off lights, computers, reduce your hot water temp in the summer or raise your chill water temp in the winter, making sure economizers if you're in the West Coast and you're in a dry climate economizers is great bringing in that fresh outside air to do your cooling so you don't have to run your chillers or your rooftop units.
Use natural light obviously when possible. And here are some of the low cost ones that we focus on. Upgrading your programming thermostats, fixing broken valves, sensors. We've done reducing lamp projects and some buildings where we had too many lumens, so we're able to take out a third of the hallway lighting to make sure that you still had enough lumens but we're now reducing the energy by a third in the hallways. You can use rebate programs and then I think calibrating sensors is one of the most important things is that when you're looking online and you're saying that that sensor doesn't look right and it's calling for a hotter discharge there than what you're supposed to be doing in the middle of the summer then fixing these sensors are really and finding them are really going to help you figure out if this building isn't running efficiently or not. Mixed air sensors, return air sensors, discharge air, economizing. So all that is really important when you're talking about calibration. And like I said, the last part of our process is that constant communication with the building occupants.
Regular meetings to go over schedules, making sure that you're there looking at the data and seeing what's going on, you want to make sure your ECOS are not getting in the way of any productivity. Like I said, we're not here to turn off the lights when people are working. You're going to then communicate with the maintenance people, give them feedback, comfort feedback to and communicate any issues you see with them. We’re like I said kind of the middle of all the silos, right bringing that dedicated focus so that the maintenance people can just focus on fixing issues and the engineers can just focus on upgrading equipment. And we're here to kind of take some of that off their shoulders and make sure that what they are doing is actually making a difference. And then we use a Facility Fact software that's help us kind of be our building notebooks so that we understand what is all those silos and how are they being integrated into our program. So our success like I said, we're at our tenth year in the middle of it. And we're at about 22% of avoided use avoidance, so we're doing great and that’s since 2008. And that’s over 52 million of cost avoidance since our program started.
Now like I said, we're obviously we're a small part of this big energy conservation program. Everybody in the UNM community is contributing enormously to this especially the Physical Plant Department, they have the highest impact. But we’re the ones who are bringing dedicated focus and are the storytellers of this because if you're not looking at the data and you're not seeing how everything is working then you're not really telling a story, right? You're not letting the data speak for itself. And so that's where we come in as or the storytellers and since we've started becoming the storytellers, there has been great success in our energy conservation program. And then we arrange anywhere from 16% to 26% percent in the nine year program. And in our tenth year, we’re projected to be a little ahead of where we were in performance year 9. So I think the biggest thing also is that you see this curve slowly going up every year, right? If you have dramatic cost avoidance or usage avoidance go up then there might be something wrong with the data.
If it's going down, then maybe you're not doing some of the low-hanging fruit stuff anymore. But as our Physical Plant Department adds more high efficient equipment and to the campus it gives us more opportunities to find some of these scheduling opportunities or lighting opportunities. And if we do one to two big projects a year, your scale should really only be moving up a little bit every year. Like I said, you shouldn't have any dramatic increases or decreases in energy. So this is kind of where we are and we're just going to be a little bit ahead of where we were in performance year nine for ten. So that is the end of my presentation.
John Heinz: Well, Matthew, thank you. That was excellent. I think there is definitely some takeaways we can all learn from this. Some of the themes that at least stood out for me are number one, you got a baseline where you're at today, so track what you have, what you're managing that's an important first step. Another one then is to create a plan and stick to the plan and get it ingrained in everyone and carry out the plan. Another is there is some low-hanging fruit, some things that you can do, some free no-cost options to start on immediately. You outlined some of those. There is also some low-cost things that you can be doing just to get some quick hits hopefully incur some savings immediately. And then kind of finally benchmark where you are start tracking savings or avoided use and cost and get buy-in for more team members to continue to expand out the program. So a lot of very valuable things that you covered and we appreciate that.
Before we get to some questions, for all of you that attended that are still on hopefully that was very worthwhile. I think it was excellent myself. And Matthew went over, he presented about donuts. I hopefully some of you caught that. Well, now that you've attended you will be receiving a coupon for some free coffee from Starbucks so that's our gift for attending and maybe you can buy some donuts to keep on theme for today's presentation. We're going to move forward with some questions. So let's go ahead and start. All these questions were sent ahead of time. So some of you that are still on might have asked these. So Matthew, for faculty, staff or students, how did you motivate each group?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, each group is a little bit different. For students and the residential life, we've been part of new student orientation. I think the students really are about the environment, right and they want to help reduce the carbon footprint and avoid global warming. And so they're very much willing to help if they know that there is something out there. So the people in the residential halls are the students. We have an Energy Conservation Specialist who works with them specifically and he has done orientations, he has done presentations, he has worked with RAs to really make everybody there kind of aware. We've done competitions in the past with [Indiscernible] [0:54:36] really trying to get them motivated. So you just kind of have to really make them aware and make it so they know how easy it is to kind of help you out with your program. Staff and faculty are a little bit different than they have offices. And so you have to really give them the feedback and also make them aware that these things are easy, right? These little initiatives of you turning off lights, computers and helping us out it's really simple and it doesn't take much of your time.
We're just saying if you're not using it, just make sure that you do turn off that light or you do shut down your computer and you don't open that window so all the air goes out and pumps some more conditioned air into the area. So it's about being there like weekly and then seeing that like I said, you're not going away and you're just going to help, they're going to help you kind of get that low-hanging fruit pointed in the right direction in terms of just the bit little basic stuff. But the faculty and staff are really they want to help and they want to do what they can in general. Now we also have policies that the University is implemented about being energy savers as well as consumers and looking to help us out. And in some cases, they are implemented also in their performance reviews so that if we can kind of show at least the building managers that your building has reduced energy by 17% or whatever it is and it's a good reflection of what you're doing and what everybody is doing collectively. So you just really have to find again, what the person does, are they more interested in the financial side, the environmental side and what is their role at the University and how they’re going to help. So it's kind of how you have to figure out how to motivate each different group.
John Heinz: Yeah, I appreciate that. I like how you tie that into results of a job function and performance that I think that that's how you can get some actionable results from staff members. So next question has to do even on topic of keeping staff and if you had turnover, how do you maintain energy conservation knowledge from year-to-year?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, I mean EnergyCAP has really helped at least on the data side of maintaining that knowledge of what's happening in the building from a consumption standpoint. And then while you're doing your audits and while you're doing your commissioning, you learn who is in the building and the new people are coming on and who is your kind of your champions, right? And so by really getting a personal relationship with the building occupancy, you learn how to kind of maintain this and actually do better a little bit better every single year. So in some cases, we've been working with the same people for nine, ten years and then or ten years I guess in May. And then when new people come in, you have to kind of reintroduce the program and set up meetings and say this is what the previous person was doing with us and this is the results that we got from it. And it's always about the feedback and showing them how, what them doing these little things and meeting with you is actually turning into a larger amount of success not just in what they're trying to do but in what the whole mission of our program is. So I think just knowing the people and then when you're going through the buildings, you also know the system is very well and if something changes, you're right there to figure out what happened or learn the new system. When you put lighting in new LEDs in, you see it, you know it, so you can keep track of it. So it's just it's a constant monitoring of people and working with them to maintain this knowledge I guess.
John Heinz: Yeah certainly, I appreciate that. So you had said earlier that the University reported 22% usage avoidance. So can you talk about how did you verify the cost avoidance, so the cost associated with avoiding all the usage?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, in our same baseline here [May 2000] [0:59:52] to May of 2008 you have different rates and you have different factors that are going into every single year. So that baseline year you have to adjust and we talked about it a little bit the baseline adjusted current conditions, you have to adjust the rate, you have to adjust the weather a little bit, square footage and the billing dates to make sure there is close to what you're doing this year as they were back then. So you can kind of compare apples-to-apples. So then you take the cost this year and after you change the baseline adjusted to current conditions take the actual and then you compare back to the baseline adjusted to current conditions and you come up with a number. And so that's kind of how we're calculating our cost avoidance. At the University of New Mexico, we do have most of the buildings being part of our District Energy System. But we don't have all of them, so you really have to in some case especially if you have a new building, you have to create a different baseline. But in the end and the best part about the EnergyCAP software is all you have to do is set that baseline and then press a button and then you can get your cost avoidance. But you always have to make sure that your numbers that you're putting in there are good and that the rates are correct for the usage and that you're always constantly reviewing that process too. So again, that's kind of part our measurement and verification monthly pattern as we look at all that.
John Heinz: Yeah. And I think another important piece there that Matthew had said was the reviewing of the data because there is adjustments, there are adjustments that need to be made and special saving situations you need to take into consideration for potentially each meter in each building. So it is important to review things and as Matthew mentioned, they have monthly reports that they review and they look at then what's going on if there is any data elements that seem to be out of line, any building and go from there. So it's not just plug in the numbers and off you go, it's a constant upkeep of what's going on in the review of the data. How do you measure persistence? What measures seem to persist in which don't and why?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, for us, I meet with my group on a monthly basis. And from our conversations, I can tell whether they're meeting their goals and continuing to be persistent and searching for opportunities and searching for knowledge of the buildings. And so that was kind of always something that we just let our people go out and look for opportunities. But you really have to get the knowledge from your team to justify whether they're meeting goals of which you set for them, right? And so for us, like I said, if we're sitting in a meeting and they don't know what's happening in one of their buildings for three or four months in a row but I see the usage going up that might be an indicator that they're not going through and being persistent enough for. So that's kind of how we measure that is by our monthly reviews of the data and knowledge is pretty much proving whether they're being persistent or not.
John Heinz: Yeah. So three more questions here and then we'll wrap things up. What sort of continuing program is necessary to maintain improved occupant habits at an optimum level?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, I mean it's again it's a rinse, lather, repeat it's waking up and making the donuts and making sure that everybody knows that you're not going anywhere kind of thing because I think every year our program has become a little bit more successful because we've had more buy-in from everybody, right? We probably started with a lot of people not believing and well, you're just going to turn off lights and you're just going to do this and do the schedules that won't lead to energy conservation. But as we've continually been here and shown feedback, the program has like you've seen in our chart, it's gotten a little bit more successful every year. And now we have people who are calling us to check on issues or scheduling and sending us stuff and letting us know if there are activities or if there is a change in the schedules for classes, so that everybody is really contributing to this one big effort. So as long as we always have the right communication and the right feedback tools, we're going to maintain and get a little bit better than the previous year if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. If we're continually getting that low-hanging fruit by everybody else is focusing on the bigger picture. So it's just we're not going anywhere mentality and everybody is buying in again a little bit more every year.
John Heinz: Yeah. It seems you would need that because after so many years things are running efficiently and that's it, so to continue to drive savings you really need to get buy-in from everyone in each building and each department continue to help. So I understand that completely. Did you hire a company to help you achieve your energy savings or were most of your programs engineered by your in-house staff?
Matthew Cherrin: So energy education at the time they're now called Cenergistic. They helped jumpstart the program for the first few years. We hired I think it's a little different now. We ended up hiring at the time through local energy. The energy conservation specialists where I think Cenergistic now they're part of their team even though they were in the same type of role and function. But the good thing about Cenergistic is they had or energy education Cenergistic they had done this before. And so they had this program and a history of successes for a long time. And this was purely in behavior based, right? Now I think we were the second University that they actually came on board and helped Oklahoma State being the first one. But they got us really jumpstarted and showed us what the process was. And I think we've been able to take it and make it our own with those fundamentals that they kind of brought to the team. And so yeah, they did help us in the first four years, yeah.
John Heinz: Yeah. We've had a long-standing partnership with Cenergistic and seen kind of the value of them helping organizations like your campus to implement programs like this and the real value of it. But it's important for each campus or a school district or a municipality, whatever there is to really own the process and make it theirs to make it work within their framework, which based on your presentation, you really have on your campus. And so that's really where the success -- the long-term success is. So, go ahead.
Matthew Cherrin: And I was going to say they definitely helped jumpstart our behavior program. We've been doing energy conservation at the University for years with the upgrades and lighting projects and stuff. But they helped us bring I guess the dedicated focus that we use today.
John Heinz: Yeah. And that kind of transitions us to the last question to compare savings from pure behavior modifications, so occupants changing their behavior and habits to savings from schedule and set point changes, to savings from repairs or minor building system improvements?
Matthew Cherrin: Well, you're never going to be able to identify every single measure that is helping you reduce energy. I mean, I think we're lucky enough that the University of New Mexico that have a utility department that has provided us with meters on main campus for most of the buildings where I don't know if I see that and a lot of university or organization campus-wide kind of utility way. So there is no way to just say well, that person turned off the light and that's why you did a 10% reduction over here compared to the engineers who put in a VFD on a motor and all of a sudden the energy dropped. This is really a collective program from the engineer to the people in the buildings to the maintenance people and everybody has to work together to get the most out of it. But you're never going to be able to just say this is just because of one or the other. Now, I will say, when you do put a VFD in or you do do some big equipment upgrades, you will see the most dramatic reductions, right. And that's the Physical Plant Department. But in general when it comes to the total savings there is the total reduction, you can't really identify each measure as one or the other.
John Heinz: Yeah. Certainly and I really want to thank you Matthew for your time spent on this webinar for sharing to all of us out there the secret sauce that the University of New Mexico is using to drive really millions of dollars worth of avoided savings and just all the efforts that you've implemented on the campus. To all of you that are watching this webinar and have participated, we thank you for participating. We appreciate everyone for being good stewards of the environment and natural resources and doing what you can to conserve and to protect our valuable resources. Thanks for your time today and to energy savings. Thanks.
Matthew Cherrin: Thanks.