Steve Heinz: All right. End of grace period, we're going to get going. I'm excited for our webinar this afternoon. My name's Steve Heinz, Founder and CEO of EnergyCAP and I would like to welcome you all to our webinar. We are very honored and pleased to have as our presenter today Casey Keyser. Casey is the Senior Energy Manager for Oklahoma State University. She's an Oklahoma State Grad. And as you would expect from someone who is the Senior Energy Manager of a major university, her degree is in Animal Science Biotechnology. Maybe that's not so intuitive after all.
Casey after graduation was working in the laboratory on genetics. She took a break from that position in 2007 when the university made a major commitment to a behavior-based energy management program in partnership with synergistic and synergistic played a big role there in selling senior leadership at the university on the importance and the concept of creating a culture of conservation through behavior based program. That's how it all got started back in 2007.
Casey was one of the original five campus energy managers that were hired as part of that to implement the behavior-based practices across the campus. 13 years later, she still expanding her impact. Now she is Senior Energy Manager of Oklahoma State University with responsibilities to supervise the other energy managers also sustainability and also the building controls operation. I think this is a great example of how a university started with a behavior-based program, it created a culture of efficiency, sustainability and conservation.
It got senior leadership on board and it's continued to grow now 13 years from there. I like to quote Jonas Salk who says, “Are we being good ancestors?” And I think you'll agree with me after you see Casey's presentation that future generations will say Casey was a great ancestor, because she grew this program and had a major impact not just on the university, but on the community and all those who have passed through the university over the years. With that introduction, Casey, let me thank you and hand it over to you.
Casey Keyser: Thank you, Steve. I greatly appreciate it. And you had mentioned how the program initially got started. One of the things that spurred that was the university was looking at how to reduce utility costs on campus and there's three different ways to do that. You can put more energy efficient equipment, you can negotiate new rates or the option that OSU decided to go with was the behavior based conservation program. Once that was established, there was a policy that was created and approved at the border region and then we also had campus energy guidelines established for each of the branch campuses that the program covered. And that was to allow some flexibility.
Policy has to be approved at the Board of Regents level. The guidelines are approved at the President’s level at the campus. So I’d say that allowed us a little bit of flexibility in case anything needed to be -- and changed or anything like that. This is a hard mission statement and you can see that it's a pretty difficult line that we walk. We have to educate and encourage conservation on campus. There's a lot of turnover, I'm sure those of you who are also at higher education institutions have the same issue. I think the number we received was approximately 25% of our faculty and staff are new each fall semester.
And then of course we always have classes graduating and freshmen coming in each year; constant turnover, constant education opportunities. And the other thing we have to do is maintain the conditions needed for everyone to do what they need to do on campus while trying to conserve energy. It is a fine line that we are trying to walk. I mentioned that we have energy managers at various campuses. There are actually five campuses. Oklahoma State University of Stillwater has five energy managers. There's two campuses in the Tulsa area, one is OSU Tulsa itself, the other one is the Center for Health Services and that has an energy manager.
We have OSUIT in Okmulgee with its energy manager and then OSU OKC which is in Oklahoma City and there's an energy manager there. We have a team of eight and that's -- because Stillwater is the main campus, we did require five at that time. When we first started, we had to establish what some of our first steps were going to be. And we were looking at this from the energy conservation side which is more, how do you not use as much energy as you have been a little bit like the first quote, there at the beginning where -- the greenest electron is the one that's never produced.
And that was one of our main focuses. For steps we met with faculty and staff, explained the program to them. Many people have concerns that we were going to come in and start dictating, “It's going to be 78 degrees in here in the summertime and 68 degrees in the winter time.” There was a lot of communication that had to happen there to help people understand that that's not what we were about. In fact, one of the lines that I use a lot was “If I'm doing my job well, you're not even going to realize I'm doing my job,” and that really helped. And just walking around and helping -- not only helping them understand our side of the program, but then us taking the time to understand what their needs are and their concerns.
There was a lot of meetings and a lot of -- getting all of the expectations defined and clear. In addition to that, we did a lot of energy audits. We were learning the facilities, we were learning the mechanical equipment, we were learning how the buildings are used, what's the ebb and flow of people throughout the day. That was all stuff that we had to get out in the facilities and learn and observe and record and figure out what exactly is going on in each of these facilities. And then once we did that, we would report the findings to the personnel. We did let them know, this is what we've observed.
This is the plan that we have which often revolved around reducing HVAC runtime and then they would sign off on it say, “Yes, I can see where that would work. We know that the building is occupied pretty much until 10:00 PM. After that just plan to shut down the HVAC at 10:00 PM should work just fine.” Lots of communication, lots of meetings, taking notes, learning, observing, it was a pretty high -- really steep learning curve for us. And I think for people on campus as well, because they just didn't know what the program would entail. After that [crosstalk].
Steve Heinz: Casey let me interrupt-.
Casey Keyser: Yes.
Steve Heinz: Let me interrupt and ask a question about that. If you look at, let's say two schools of thought for energy management on a campus or any kind of large organization, there are those who would say, “Well, you don't need to do all the behavior-based stuff. What you need to do is bring in an [Indiscernible] [0:09:17] right away. You need hardware, you need retrofits. Don’t spend all your time talking about it, just get hardware in place that's more efficient.” And you've just been describing a very labor intensive process meeting with people, talking with people, drawing up plans and so on. Can you comment on that? The process of energy conservation and behavior based as opposed to the alternative that says, “Just a big investment in hardware and retrofits and that's a better way to go.”
Casey Keyser: Right. Well, and I do think everything has its time and place. One of the things that was -- that the upper administration was excited about, one of the things that sold them on the program was, this was to be a non-capital expenditure program. The contract stated that there would be savings through the reduction of energy, the utility costs on campus that would pay for the energy managers. And I think one of the things that we discovered that -- and we still discover it today 13 years in, that a lot of people don't have an accurate idea of how the facility is actually used throughout a 24 hour periods and over weekends and things like that. And here's a perfect example.
We had one of our energy managers this year. She works closely with the art department and I believe it was a jewelry laboratory where the instructor has said, “Hey, my students need to be able to get into this jewelry laboratory on the weekends and late at night and all of these times.” And he really had his students' best interests in mind. He wanted to make sure that it was available when they needed it. And she proposed, she said, “Well, have you asked them exactly when they will come in and use it?” And he said, “I haven't, that's a really good idea.”
He actually put up a time -- a weekly calendar grid on a dry erase board and had the students come in and say, “When are you planning to try to do your work in this laboratory?” And so they all shaded in there different times when they wanted to work and the most interesting thing was nobody needed it on Saturday. Not one of the students wanted to come in on work on Saturday. She was able to reduce the runtime for that lab area by half of what was expected.
I think that's probably the biggest thing is people don't realize that the use of the buildings changes over time, you have different types of classes, you have different research, all -- campus is always moving. It's worth the time and the energy managers that's part of their job. They come in late at night, early morning, weekends, holidays and when they're checking out mechanical equipment, they're also looking to see who's actually in the building.
I think there's a lot more opportunity for that behavior side of things than what a lot of people realize until you take the time to actually observe and measure, you have a guess, but you don't have an accurate representation of what is the occupancy of the building. I think that's probably one of the main things that people don't take into account when they're looking at whether or not a behavior-based program might actually work for them. They have in mind like, “Well, there's no more wiggle room. We've done all we can.” That's what we always tell people, we have five people whose only job is to find where we could possibly conserve energy.
Steve Heinz: That’s great, thank you very much.
Casey Keyser: And then the other side of that you're talking about more of the energy management side and I've talked about this a little bit in that example, we looked at the occupancy patterns, we did try to identify more efficient ways to manage the equipment, because again we always have our wish list, we would encounter things and be like, “This pump -- really wish we could replace this old pump with a nice high efficiency pump,” but we were a non-capital expenditure program. We had a wish list, but we had to do everything on the behavior side of things, which was again, matching the HVAC runtime.
We had one auditorium that was not scheduled to use during the summer, but it was -- the HVAC was running the entire time. And what we found was that space was being sub cooled. And so there was additional humidity in that space, but obviously we did not want in that space, it was just things like that. Then we were able to get -- cut back from the run time on that. Again, the holidays, weekends, a lot of people just -- you know how the university functions when you're here, when you're present, a lot of people don't know how it functions when nobody's present.
That's where the energy managers would come in. And then the other thing is we started using EnergyCAP from the very beginning. It was obviously in a different form than what it is today, but this was really the very first time that utility bills have been analyzed in any way. The only way they were really looked at was, was there anything that was too big or too small? And that was it. Nothing accounting for weather or as we -- the energy managers, they would know if the building use had changed and why is there a chilled water bill for this building? It's been vacant. That kind of thing that was never picked up on before. And so EnergyCAP was really, really important for us in that.
The other thing is that we had to build the culture and that's what we're talking about today and how we did that. One of the things we wanted to do right away was launch a website, and so we did that. And then Facebook was big, just getting big with people other than university students at that time. We had a Facebook page and then we've also added Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, and our sustainability intern do a lot of the posting for us on that and so there's lots of sustainability as well as energy management on those accounts.
And then recently to try to put more of a personal perspective on the energy managers and the work they do, we started doing blog posts. And it's so far -- it's a little bit educational to let people know how campus operates. It's a little bit -- you can't believe the things I saw as an energy manager that kind of thing. We're really trying, because so much of the energy management work is behind the scenes. Again, it's scheduling HVAC, auditing buildings on weekends and holidays to see, is there things running that shouldn't be running, so much of it is behind the scenes. We really wanted to try to add a personal perspective to what they do and hopefully -- because sometimes we get called not very nice names because well people don't like change and that's what happens.
Like I said, we wanted to be able to have some sort of a personal outlet there so people could get to understand the energy managers in the work they do. That was how we were working to build the culture across campus. One of the other challenges as well is building a culture within the physical plant. And I think that is probably a challenge for a lot of people with any type of energy management program at their facilities or their organization. Just to give you a little bit of an idea of what we had before the previous billing process, we actually have physical meter books. The meter readers would take them out, they would hand write the meter reading in it.
At what point that would come back to the utilities accountant, who would take those meter readings, enter into an Excel spreadsheet, which were then manually entered again into a DOS-based program that have been developed in house. And it's like I said before, there was no really analysis going on at all. It was just -- did the bill come back negative? Was it far too large? That was about it. The Energy Management Program, that was one of the biggest benefits that we were able to bring was looking at those utility bills and seeing opportunities for conservation or even just looking for issues of something kind of, if we suddenly had far more chill water usage in an area than we expected, we knew we needed to go find out what was happening.
And that was where as I said EnergyCAP was so important in being able to do that. When we first set up the program, there was two of us that hand-keyed all of the billing data in there. The program started in 2007, we needed a history to use and so we entered bills for starting from July of 2003; so it’s four years’ worth of data that we backed data that we got in there. And then we manually entered the information every month. So like I said there was a huge movement forward in being able to analyze the utility bills, but because we were getting the utility usage afterwards we were entering the bills that had already gone out, we were still six to eight weeks behind finding anything in the buildings.
And I'm sure many of you know something could be found in six, within that eight weeks and so then we were trying to find what was the issue, what was the high chilled water use? And we always just felt like we were playing catch up, because we were so far behind. But like I said big improvement forward, we were finally able to analyze the data, the weather was taken into account, because of EnergyCAP. It was a game changer for us here on campus.
Eventually we were able to get the meter readers laptops, so they won’t penciling in meter readings anymore. They were entering directly to the Excel spreadsheet. And then we had -- synergistic helped us set up -- upload where we were able to upload that Excel file directly into EnergyCAP. And that really started moving things much more quickly. And like I said, it was the first time that we were able to identify buildings that had the largest potential for some energy savings.
Steve Heinz: Casey let me mention something about that. Let me just mention something, excuse me. There’s probably some people listening to this, but that don't quite understand that whole situation, because they're not on campus type situations but at Oklahoma State similar to other large universities, the physical plant operation owns the distribution system on campus. You don't have any meters from outside utility vendors, you have sub-meters that you've installed. And you had said that you have about a thousand sub-meters, right?
Casey Keyser: That is correct.
Steve Heinz: Across campus there's a thousand sub meters that are the property of physical plant, that physical plant has to read and process the data in order to get building level consumption. That's really a situation unique to a large campus type operation which you wouldn't run into if you were a municipal government or a school district.
Casey Keyser: Correct.
Steve Heinz: Okay, go ahead. Thank you.
Casey Keyser: Certainly one of the benefits as the -- when we were -- the conservation that we were able to see right away it did allow us to delay purchasing a chiller and that's big money that we were able to put off for a few years. Obviously campus is always changing, there's growth. We had to have the additional capacity at one point, but it did allow us, I believe about five years where we did not have to purchase that additional chiller, because we reduced the consumption on campus. We were then able to have plenty of capacity until we did have the new growth.
That was a big benefit of starting the program on campus. That's the first couple of years, 2009-2011, we're maturing, we're expanding, we're starting to see some recognition. We were an energy star partner which was a big step for us. We then did start to introduce some energy efficiency thing. And you had mentioned, a lot of people think that that's the only direction you have to go. And we were able to see a lot of conservation on campus before starting to look at replacing old inefficient equipment. And so that was introduced in that 2010/2011 time period. And I mentioned some of the other impacts, of course there was the chiller that we didn't have to buy.
The utility budget was not increased during those years. And I will tell you our VP of Administration and Finance loves to be able to go to the Board of Regents and say, “I'm not requesting any more utility -- increasing the utility budget this year.” And he was able to do that, I believe for the first five years of our program. That's really good and that's when we added -- three of these buildings were new and two of them had been closed down and were completely remodeled. And so that was an additional half million square foot plus that was brought on and still did not require a utility budget increase.
And again, the trending, the analysis and everything that we were able to do in EnergyCAP showed us that, that was a safe decision to make, to say, we're going to be able to continue to conserve on campus and we will not need to increase the utility budget this year and that's it, that's taxpayer money, something we're very proud of. Some of the steps on the energy efficiency side that we did that a couple of years, we had some lighting retrofits, the VendingMiser, they shut off the vending machines when nobody's around and just the regular things that always need done but don't necessarily make the top 10 list of fancy things but you want to pay money for.
The VFDs were great, we were able to get those in a couple of buildings. We got some motor upgrades and then we were also able to get some hood occupancy sensors and that's what the laboratory controls were. Later on we did add additional laboratory controls which helped with -- we were able to reduce the air exchanges significantly because the system that we installed with sampling every 15 seconds to make sure that there weren't any contaminant and then it would purge if it found anything. That was what we did with that program. Just to give you an idea of where we started, what our first few years look like.
Obviously the low-hanging fruit you can grab the first few years. We're not still always seeing this, six or five or six million cost avoidance each year but it was far -- we did far exceed expectations. That was, again, something that we were very proud of because the upper administration had been given a certain goal and like I said, we far exceeded that. They were very, very happy with the behavior-based program that had been established on campus.
Again, as the program has continued as we're -- all of this time we're still doing the same things. We're trying to educate the new people on campus, we want to keep the program in front of the people who are on campus and who have been on campus. There's a continual communication and education process this whole time. Some additional milestones, we had some Residential Life buildings earn ENERGY STAR award. In 2013, we had our first facilities that we were ever able to verify once $1 million or more in cost avoidance. Those are obviously the research center and we'd pick a stadium with a large facility, so if you're able to make even small gains, it's going to be big dollars.
The Wes Watkins centers was -- it basically functions of a convention center, it's not as large as some of the other buildings on campus, but because again, there was this idea that temperatures needed to be at a certain point all the time or HVAC needed to run at all hours of the day, there was lots and lots of room to get some setbacks on some things and to schedule the HVAC and not affect the operations of the facility in any way. That was one we are really proud of because that -- the people in that facility were willing to work with us and to try some new things and they were one of the first buildings to reach a million dollars cost avoidance.
That was a really exciting one. And then again, the next year we had a couple of more buildings that reached the $1 million cost avoidance. In 2013, we did choose to invest in the enterprise version of EnergyCAP and this was a huge step forward for us, it did change our processes. Like I said, we had at least already moved from the physical meter books to spreadsheets and uploads, but with this -- in this enterprise version the Meter Reader app allowed for the immediate upload of readings to the database. And then we could calculate the bills right away and start the analysis.
And so the energy managers at this point are now vetting the bills before they are charged out. And so we were -- that shifted our timescale up from six to eight weeks to about four weeks or so, which is still kind of behind, but such an improvement and EnergyCAP allowed us to do that, and it's really helped with again, identifying areas of improvement on campus. And here's the Cowboy Wind Farm. This is actually a picture of our wind farm, it was taken by one of our original energy managers. I always include this one, just because I really like the picture.
We did team with our energy or electricity providers on this wind farm. Construction was in 2012 it went online in 2013 and we do typically average, 70% of our total electric use on campus is being provided by wind power. And we usually have -- I put this in here, the common misconceptions we have. Otherwise we get the chance to talk to students in some of the classes and things and this is typically the questions they have. They don't understand that the electricity just goes out into the grid and we use what's provided from the company just like we always have.
They also think that the electricity generated by the wind farm is free, which is not, again, we still pay our rates to our electricity provider. And the one thing that actually even surprised some of us was that electricity is not always generated by the wind. We found out that in August when it's really, really hot and really, really still, you don't get a lot of wind power generated and we were really surprised by that. We try to educate people again about some of the misconceptions that we hear commonly. Again, moving forward in the program, and like I said, this entire time we're still talking to new deans, new department heads, new faculty and staff on campus, new students.
It's a constant -- pretty much every fall, especially and even in the spring, we have a whole new audience that we need to try to get in front of and have them become familiar with the program on campus. The campus conservation nationals that was in the red light area, we were a great power partner, the wind farm was part of that. We did receive an award for responsible economic growth. And then again, some more facilities that have reached that $1 million cost avoidance and we did the OSU IT Okmulgee campus altogether as one.
Then a little more recently we wanted to start recognizing people across campus. We developed this energy leadership award and that was interesting how that came about. We were looking for -- the conversation started because we had students that were having meetings, Seven O'clock to Nine O'clock at night in spaces where we could have had the HVAC setback for the night other than these meetings. And so we said, “Well, how do we open up that conversation?” And we decided to create an award that would -- if the organization would meet with an energy manager and consider moving their meeting to another space where the HVAC would be running anyway, that there would be some other things that they'd be eligible to earn this award.
We also have some criteria for departments to be able to earn the reward. And that's just getting things shut down at night, understanding what conservation opportunities are in their area and things like that. We really want to recognize the people who are making a difference on campus and that was one way to do that. We did want to -- it's been 10 years of savings in 2018. We created some awards for 20 individuals and the one department I had mentioned the Wes Watkins center which was the -- which function of the convention center, that is the one department because they had gone above and beyond to help us in that facility. Again, we wanted to recognize the people on campus who were making a difference.
We were very fortunate President Hargis was able to attend that and to present those awards for us to those people. Just to give you an idea of where we're at, I can see our cost avoidance with all campuses together is over 66 million, that's about a 19% cost avoidance. Our goal is always 20%. You can see Stillwater is the majority of that. Whatever happens in Stillwater is going to drive a lot of that cost avoidance percentage, but 20% [indiscernible] [00:33:46], the other campuses were getting it done, we have a large research facility and some things like that, that can become a challenge. And then a lot of people like to get a picture -- our energy reduction as, what are we doing for our carbon footprint and things like that.
Another thing this -- since we've avoided the 3.6 million MMBTU, that's approximately the 32,000 passenger cars not being driven for a year, which is absolutely significant. And then just going towards the future, I am in the process right now of trying to put together a climate action plan. This is a challenge, because it definitely needs to fit the university's diverse goals. And there's just a lot of different areas that need to be covered and a lot of different groups that need to be part of this document. But we are working on focusing on improving our carbon footprint as well. And there's still a lot of opportunity for conservation on campus.
As Steve had mentioned at the beginning in the introduction, we were very fortunate to have our building controls group become part of our energy management team and that was about two years ago, and that is really great. They've always been a vital part of gaining some of the savings that we've seen on campus. The reason is they make sure that the buildings are operating as they should, all of the building controls and things like that. To be able to bring them in as part of the team has really been very exciting. And the interesting thing is over this last two years, they have really started to -- continue to do the fantastic troubleshooting and repair and maintenance work that they always do, but they're also starting to view it from more of an energy management side.
It's not only are they out there fixing what needs to be fixed, but a lot of times they'll step back and look at things a little bit more from the whole and start to see, “Well, maybe I can optimize this sequence of operations or maybe, something's going on here that could be improved upon.” And it's really been really fun to see them start to visualize their work with that energy management filter. We do have a new central plant, which is where we're housed and that's been very exciting. And a part of that has also been -- we're going to start looking at -- obviously the reductions we have across campus in the buildings affects our production here in the plant.
We're going to start looking a little bit more at optimizing the steam and the chilled water production as well. And as I mentioned before, we are always striving to reach that 20% cost avoidance. Basically for the conclusion to create that culture of conservation, there's three parts to that. One is the promoting energy conservation, that's the education piece and getting in front of everybody on campus, practicing the energy management. Most of that has to do with the energy audit, scheduling the HVAC around occupancy. And then, like I said, some of it is also improving energy efficiency where we can. We're continuing to look for opportunities to get the program recognized and we still are looking for chances to recognize people on campus who are making a difference.
Some people are just really, really excited about the opportunities to reduce energy use on campus. And again, that reduces the carbon footprint and things like that. There's folks out there who really do go above and beyond what is required. We are working to report savings, like I said, in as many ways as we can as many levels as possible. And that's where EnergyCAP is just a huge part of that. But the program would not have the success that it does without EnergyCAP because the reporting, the analysis, all of that is -- that's the bread and butter of the program and without that information that we're able to pull from EnergyCAP, we just wouldn't be able to have the conversations that we need to have across campus. It’s been really great for us here.
Steve Heinz: Well, Casey let me break in. Congratulations on your success and your 13 years, you've been part of the program from the very beginning. I think some important points that I'd like to make before we get to the questions, probably the best known -- most well-known Oklahoma State graduate in the energy management field is Dr. Wayne Turner who is an association of Energy Engineers Hall of Fame and a past president of that. And he's been very, very well known for his mentorship and his leadership and his involvement in energy management over many years. It's interesting that the way you present the program would probably be the exact same way that the Dr. Turner would present it as far as the way you did things.
First of all, is the foundation of the entire program, which is energy information because if you don't get your arms around the information you really can't make wise decisions on anything. EnergyCAP comes in first as the foundation of the entire program and then the next thing you do is the behavior base, the energy conservation because you want to cut out the waste before you invest in retrofits and energy efficiency. You did the energy conservation piece for five years. You cut the waste out of the system, you optimize schedules and all those many, many things. And then you moved on to energy efficiency.
You talked about retrofits that you've done and so on. And then once your physical plan is as efficient as it can be, then you put the renewables on top of that because you certainly don't want to invest in renewables to generate more electricity than you need to generate because you're inefficient. You've done things in this pyramid shape and I congratulate you and the university, for really doing it well and having a program that is very successful. Let's move on to the questions. Let's see what the first question from our viewers is. How do you get reluctant building management staff on board with the energy program?
Casey Keyser: Yeah, this is -- it's probably is one of the primary challenges that especially a new program will run into and we still do because it's a continual education process. I think one of the things that we have been successful in doing is taking the time to explain what our goals are, where we're trying to get to and then asking a lot of questions. Some of the biggest pushback we had when we very first started was actually with our physical plant staff.
They were not very excited about us being here at first, but again, I don't think until we had the conversation with them about; this is what we're trying to get to, this is how we'd like to do it, now -- what am I not understanding? What opportunities am I not seeing that you know about? And again, it really does come down to that communication and helping them understand that you realize they know the building, they know the chemical equipment that anything that they can give you and teach you more about will help and look to them for their expertise. And I just like [Indiscernible] [00:42:16] exploring, what are their true objectives. A lot of times they're just worried that you're going to do something that is going to harm the building, the equipment or it's going to be detrimental to what the occupants are trying to do in the building. So [Indiscernible] [00:42:34] that communication find out what their real objections are. Data is always great as well. We use HOBO loggers which will log temperature and humidity. And that is always very powerful to say, “Okay, this is what I'm seeing right here in the facility. This is not how we want to be operating. What things can we do to get it to here?” And then I think the other thing as well-.
Steve Heinz: Okay that’s -- oh I’m sorry.
Casey Keyser: I just was going to say reporting – report a-.
Steve Heinz: Okay, good. Yeah. You make very important points there that it really takes people and it takes relationships, if you want to have an effective program and get people on board, you don't do it with a memo. You do it face to face, you do it with people who are good listeners and who show their concern and develop relationships with people in the buildings. And that's a point that's often overlooked in energy management when the approach is, “Let's just send a memo that we're going to install new hardware in the building.” Your person to person approach is a key point of this. Let's move on to question number two.
Casey Keyser: Fantastic.
Steve Heinz: What information do you share with building occupants and how do you communicate it and do you feel that it really helps the engagement of occupants in doing their part?
Casey Keyser: Yeah. This is a continual challenge especially a university where we do have not only do students on campus every semester but we do have lots of turnover. We're always bringing in new faculty and this is really a challenge continually even now 13 years in and it's waxed and waned over the program. When we first started, we did do a lot of reporting as far as building performance and we would give that to pretty much every department head and Dean and [Indiscernible] [00:44:48]. And most of the occupants within the building wouldn't see that.
The challenge that we ran into is we discovered that a lot of times we would provide that reporting but it would just be glanced at and would not move anywhere from that desk. I think that probably we're actually readdressing this. We're really going to start creating some basic building reports that we can again, get in front of those department heads and deans and things like that. The version seven of EnergyCAP with the dashboards and all of that is really -- we're looking to take advantage of that and allow -- set some things up that will allow different people to see different things in their buildings.
The facility manager, that person is probably going to want to look more at, you know, what are the consumption numbers, things like that, wait a minute do I have a water leak somewhere, something like that. And then obviously [indiscernible] [00:46:01] a department head or a Dean level, they're going to be working more dollars and things like that. It really is a continual process and finding what communicates well, what gets ignored. And I think to your point earlier, it really does hinge on having those relationships out on campus that open communication, regular communication and that kind of thing. And that was the other thing I'd mentioned the energy leadership award because people talk about putting up kiosks and things like that. And we've found that people don't interact with them very much.
So how do we improve that engagement? One of the goals that we had had with the energy leadership award for the department was to improve that. There are like four random audits that happen within the year that is done by the energy manager. And basically at the very -- when they first applied to become an -- to earn that energy leadership award, the energy manager will walk through and show all of the opportunities for savings. It might be you have two monitors, you have a computer and you have your lights and your blind and that would be five opportunities in that space. And so then they do random audits throughout the year and they have to pass with meeting at least 90% of those opportunities each time.
Again, we were trying to figure out a way to recognize the people who are actually engaged in energy conservation. It is a challenge and you have to continually think of ways to be creative that bring in the people and their interests because most people they have a job and just the energy management is not their full-time job. It's continual process, continual education, and it really is something you can't just say, “Okay, we're saving enough money so we're done.” We don't need to get out there and actually talk to the occupants and things like that. It is something that you have to constantly be striving for.
Steve Heinz: Okay, great. Let's move on to the next one. How are you using EnergyCAP for water conservation?
Casey Keyser: We use it mostly by just looking at the normalized data and things like that for anything where the water usage seems unusual for the month. We don't actually report any savings on our water because we do produce our own water from a local source. We haven't done a whole lot on this, but the tools that are in EnergyCAP do help us recognize if an area is using a lot more water than usual. And recently I think it's been about a year now, our landscape services area reached out to us and that they were aware that -- well, I think it was some reporting that we had sent up the chain came back down their way.
Somebody was asking questions about some water use on our irrigation meters and what was fantastic about the new version and ECAP was that I was able to create a dashboard specifically for landscape. They don't necessarily have to know how to navigate all through EnergyCAP and find the bills and things like that. They can go to that dashboard, get the information that they need and they're able to report to their up line what they have going on. We have made some strides in that. That's probably the one area where we have the most room for growth is to start really looking at how we can conserve water on campus.
Steve Heinz: Yeah. Well, it's interesting that you're making good use of the dashboards and EnergyCAP version seven, you can create a dashboard, publish it publicly and then EnergyCAP gives you the URL link that you can put on your own website or in other communications. It allows people to look at EnergyCAP data without being a user and without logging into EnergyCAP just by clicking on a link and getting instantly updated data. You're making good use of that functionality that we built in the version seven, good to hear that. Let's move on to the next question. What is the skill set and makeup of your energy management staff?
Casey Keyser: Well, like you had said earlier, obviously I was meant for this position with my biotechnology degree. It's really buried, the first five energy managers that we had here on the Stillwater campus, we had someone who had worked as administrative assistant but she had worked with some very high level people. She had a really strong network on campus already. We had another energy manager who had been teaching in a K through 12 school and she did have her masters of education and so she was the only one that came in from the outside as far as not having a history at OSU.
We had somebody else who had been part of the carpentry department and also our moves department. He was very familiar with all the buildings on campus and how our physical plant operated. We had then also the -- one of the other energy managers had been -- oh, I can't remember his title exactly, but he was overall as custodial. And again, so somebody who had a very strong network all across campus, who knew the facilities and knew how -- who do you talk to? Sometimes that's the key as well knowing who’s the best person to talk to, to answer this question?
The other one that was to be hired was actually going to be from our environmental health and safety. He was offered the position and then chose to not take the position, but that gives you an idea of what they were hoping to hire. Again, people with some experience on campus. I was the one that then came in and took that position. My experience with campus is I had been a Resident Assistant, so I knew the red lights side of it. Obviously I've been a researcher so I was familiar with that side of it, I was a graduate. I had a history with the university.
It was funny because when we first started and having all those conversations on campus I would go talk to the ResLife people and they'd be like, “Oh yeah, she understands -- this isn't going to harm us. She understands she's one of us,” because I'd been an RA. And then I'd go talk to the researchers and maybe go, “Yeah, it's going to be okay. She’s not going to change a whole bunch of things. She understands our needs because she's one of us.” I think that really gave me a nice opportunity to build again all of those relationships that you need for success on that behavioral side. We since have had one manager move on and another one retire.
The two that we have hired, I had somebody -- he had been a surveyor, somebody who knew the utilities and how they work and was familiar with campus. And then our latest energy manager, he had worked in the library for years. He's actually also worked within the physical plant for some time. And he had a lot of those relationships already built on campus with all of the work that he had done in library. What I look for when I hire is, yes they need to be able to understand what the four pipe system, you have to understand the basic heat transfer. But I need somebody who will observe.
They need to understand, “Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right. That doesn't smell right. That shouldn't be on and it is on.” Somebody with good observation skills. And then especially I really need that person who's going to go out, build those relationships be able to explain and educate what the goals of the program are. I'm not looking for someone who's highly technical. I'm really looking for someone who understands the culture of OSU, understands the culture we're trying to build with the cultural conservation. And then who's able to go out build those relationships and communicate the goals of the program.
Steve Heinz: That's a great point, that it's not mechanical engineers and electrical engineers and HVAC techs, it's people who are good listeners, good communicators and good relationship builders. A good lesson to be learned. In conclusion for this afternoon, one point I want to make as we have surveyed our EnergyCAP clients across the country and ask them, “What are your barriers to effectiveness of energy management programs and of your use of EnergyCAP?”
The number one barrier to effectiveness is turnover of key staff. I think everyone appreciates your dedication, your commitment and the excellent job that you're doing there after 13 years. It's unfortunate that in a lot of organizations key people leave after a year or two or three and then the program resets and has to start over, and that's a reason for less than optimal effectiveness of a lot of programs. I really congratulate you for staying with the program for so long and expanding the program.
I think that you've been a great asset to the university obviously, and have brought about huge amounts of savings and put a culture and a program in place that really is going to be long lasting. And for others who are on the webinar this afternoon, we recognize the challenges that some organizations have just in retaining key people. And as a software provider, we're looking at opportunities to be able to help organizations, our clients augment their staff when they need to do that because they have a gap between operators and key managers.
That's something that we're working on and some service offerings that we're going to be launching. Casey, thank you very much, very impressive, you've added a lot of value to all the listeners and I'm sure you've given everyone something to think about. Thank you to all those who have attended this afternoon, you'll be getting an email from Starbucks with your coffee E-Coupon in it and have one on us and good health. Thank you to all of you and have a good rest of your day. Bye.
Casey Keyser: Thank you Steve.