Making Buildings More Energy Efficient Will Reduce Costs, Improve Comfort
MADISON, Wis.—August 29, 2013—WPS, Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, is updating its buildings to improve energy efficiency and has set an energy target goal for 2020 of an ENERGY STAR® rating of 95, at today’s ratings. The project started several years ago and is already paying off. Company officials expect cumulative savings of about $3.9 million by 2020.
Since 2007, WPS facilities personnel have been upgrading lighting and retro-commissioning buildings, which has saved WPS thousands of dollars, according to Mark Jensen, vice president of business and office services.
“Older building lighting systems were not designed for the intense use of PC monitors and the glare problems that often result,” Jensen said. “Upgraded lighting systems take this into account and the result not only saves energy, but is more appropriate for today’s office environment.”
Other major upgrades, he said, focus on the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems to improve heating and cooling scheduling, temperature setback, and the efficiency of fan and pump motors.
“Modern direct digital controls allow us to operate equipment only when necessary,” Jensen said. “We’ll be doing a lot of utility monitoring and automatic demand limiting in all of our buildings to make sure our systems are running properly and at appropriate times. Our goal is to create comfortable spaces while also being energy efficient.”
An in-depth utility rate analysis conducted by H&H Energy Services, Inc. shows a cumulative savings between 2007 and 2012 of $717,500. Each building was also given an ENERGY STAR rating.
Currently, three of the office buildings on the company’s main Madison campus would qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR rating examines the most recent 12 months of utility costs for a building and compares the building performance against that of other buildings. Because buildings in general become more efficient each year, the rating is continually adjusted.
The utility rate analysis shows that if the three buildings on the WPS campus can achieve an ENERGY STAR rating of 95 (at today’s rating) in 2020, it would mean a projected savings that year of $553,000 and a cumulative savings during the years up to and including 2020 of about $3.9 million. A rating of 95 means the building is performing in the top 5% of buildings nationally. Because the ratings adjust each year, the actual rating in 2020 may be closer to 90.