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University Expands Research Capabilities Through Modernization

  • Energy infrastructure modernization is a key accelerator of research at HSC, setting up the campus for future success

  • Current project will provide an estimated $424,900 in annual avoided costs over the life of the contract

  • Project creatively repurposed spaces to make big changes to a small footprint, including removal of cooling tower eyesore from campus green space

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and sustainability, today announced a new modernization project with The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) to support cooling demand for current and future research programs at the university’s critical health research labs.

The $10 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with Schneider Electric provides $424,912 in annual avoided costs to UNT HSC over the course of the 20-year contract. This is the third project phase between Schneider Electric and HSC focused on the future growth of the university, avoiding major costs, and increasing operational savings, all while improving campus aesthetics. HSC is a graduate-level institution focused on health care professions, with six schools specializing in patient-centered education, research, and health care. As one of the nation’s premier graduate academic medical centers, research projects around the treatment of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Investigative Genetics, require both a reliable energy supply and consistent temperature control.

“Because The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is an institution that supports significant research projects, it was important that Schneider Electric make these upgrades without interruptions to ongoing research on campus,” said Greg Knudson, Program Director, Schneider Electric. “Over our multi-year partnership, we have come to understand the university’s needs and ambitions so we are well-positioned to help them creatively modernize their facilities and repurpose space within their existing footprint to best position them for future success.”

HSC’s limited footprint posed a challenge for the upgrade of a massive mechanical system. While the upgraded system was critical to support the university’s ongoing research programs and future growth, it would also be occupying the physical space where new labs, classrooms, or clinical space could go. The university had to find a way to make big infrastructure changes without giving up any additional real estate.

Schneider Electric got creative to meet HSC’s objectives without large physical expansion potential. By redesigning the system, the team will be able to relocate a large cooling tower from the campus’ shared green space to a more discrete location on the roof of an existing building. This repurposed existing space freed up space for additional labs while also improving the overall aesthetic of the campus. This answer to the space challenge opens the university up to further enhance their ability to attract researchers and students. In addition, the project included an LED retrofit in applicable areas across campus.

“Research is an important part of the HSC community, driving funding and recruiting for the university, as well as making it an ideal location to host ongoing training for medical students. The upgrades will provide a reliable energy infrastructure to help continue that legacy with reduced risks related to disruption,” said Randall Christopher, Energy Manager at HSC. “Beyond that, the reality of our research facilities previously meant a large, noisy cooling tower in the middle of our campus green space. Our partnership with the Schneider Electric team has improved our infrastructure and our campus aesthetics by relocating the cooling tower.”

Expanding on existing Schneider Electric Building Automation Systems (BAS) installed at HSC campus facilities, future plans include the design and implementation of a campus-wide EcoStruxure™ for Building Operation platform for the migration and expansion of the existing BAS infrastructure.

This is the third project phase with HSC, building upon the existing relationship to further enhance the university’s vision and master plan. Already, the first two project phases have saved HSC $14.2 million total in energy and operational costs.

The first phase of work began in 2001 with a focus on energy conservation and management through lighting improvements, chiller replacements and digital controls. This first phase alone reduced carbon emissions by 25,425 tons. Phase two began in 2010, and further expanded energy infrastructure through:

  • Motion sensor lighting
  • Window replacements
  • Energy efficiency lighting in the buildings and parking garages
  • Installing a computer power management system
  • Mechanical upgrades to several building chillers
  • Installation of a new water management package

Schneider Electric has successfully implemented nearly 850 ESPC projects nationwide, delivering more than $3 billion in savings for clients. ESPCs are financial vehicles that help publicly-funded entities like K-12 school districts and universities make capital improvements over longer payback periods with many long-term benefits, including improved facility efficiency, a more comfortable environment, financial management, and environmental protection.

For more information on how Schneider Electric helps universities tackle their top priorities with energy efficiency, please visit