UNA Completes Large-Scale Campus Modernization Project

•    Partnership will save the university $27M over twenty years
•    Upgrades to Braly Stadium and Flowers Hall make it NCAA D1 compliant 

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and sustainability, today announced the successful completion of a comprehensive campus modernization project with the University of North Alabama (UNA) in Florence. The project will help UNA realize a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption over the next 20 years and to date, the project has reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 2,809 cars from the road or planting 3,820 acres of trees.

The project began construction in 2019 and included updates to 70 sites throughout the university’s historic campus, completing over 500 individual improvements. The updates were funded through an energy savings performance contract (ESPC), guaranteeing a significant amount of savings to be used to reinvest in other priorities and improvements for the university and its students. The project invested $17 million in sustainable and energy-efficient infrastructure upgrades and will result in $27 million in energy and operational savings for UNA over the course of the 20-year contract.

“A project of this magnitude couldn’t have been possible without the expertise of the Schneider Electric team and their ability to understand both our short- and long-term sustainability goals,” Evan Thornton, VP of Business and Financial Affairs, University of North Alabama. “As the oldest public university in the state, providing a safe, comfortable, and sustainable environment for staff and students is a complicated undertaking. We’re proud this project significantly enhanced the learning environment while also improving safety measures across campus, all while freeing up funds for other priorities.”

Key components of this project include:

  • Building envelope enhancements: Added 1.4 miles of door and window weather stripping to keep students and staff comfortable during all types of temperatures and weather.
  • Lighting updates: Installed 23,000 more efficient LED light fixtures to save 3.8 million kWh in energy every year – the equivalent of powering 380 homes annually.
  • Fiber optics network improvements: Connected athletic facilities to the campus’ fiber network with 1.5 miles worth of fiber to comply with NCAA Division 1 standards.
  • Water conservation: Implemented conservation measures across 40 campus facilities to save 7.2 million gallons of water per year – the equivalent of filling up 11 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • Mechanical upgrades: Renovated old mechanical equipment in several building and facilities, resulting in more comfortable spaces for students and staff. Automation was added to buildings not otherwise included in major mechanical upgrades to provide better management and visibility in all buildings.
  • Roofing and windows: Three new roofs were added at Wesleyan Hall, Wesleyan Annex, and the GUC. Wesleyan Hall and Collier Library received new windows.

To give UNA administrators a better understanding of their short- and long-term sustainability goals, Schneider Electric utilized Capital Asset Planning (CAP) service to equip operations staff with a detailed asset evaluation to track and manage infrastructure upgrades. While providing a clear picture of university assets and needs, the CAP services helped align UNA’s vision and implement their overarching plan across each of the separate projects. 

“UNA’s commitment to both sustainability and the comfort of students and employees created a great base for this comprehensive sustainability program,” said Tammy Fulop, Vice President, Schneider Electric. “We are proud to help UNA see such significant results and hope their success is an example for how other higher ed institutions can benefit from self-funding models to modernize campuses while saving money for other campus priorities.”

In addition to UNA, Schneider Electric has partnered with numerous neighboring public entities, including Lauderdale County Schools, Florence City Schools, and Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.

Schneider Electric has successfully designed and implemented more than 1,000 energy services projects across the U.S., saving partners more than $3 billion, and has been ranked the top-ranked energy services company in the nation by Guidehouse Insights since 2017.

To learn more about this project, visit UNA.com. For more on how Schneider Electric helps public entities tackle their top priorities with energy efficiency, visit se.com/us/enable.    

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