Infometrics (Analytika) Enables The University of Michigan to Improve Staff

by Jim Butler July 12, 2008

Infometrics is now Analytika.

The University of Michigan is one of the country’s premier research and teaching institutions, consistently ranked as one of America’s top three public universities.   With a top research and teaching staff, Michigan attracts top-tier students from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. Offering cutting-edge libraries, computer access, health care, and the largest research expenditure in the U.S., Michigan places a premium on maintaining state-of-the-art facilities at its three campuses.

With over 25 million square feet of building space and an annual energy budget exceeding $75 million in 2004, the University has maintained a long-standing commitment to energy conservation, one that won it the 2004 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for Leadership in Energy Management from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Since the inception of its energy saving efforts in 1973, the University has saved an estimated $78 million in energy costs and reduced energy consumption by over 20%.  Conservation measures have included: cogeneration, the establishment of a self-sustaining Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) Fund, upgrading from pneumatic controls to Direct Digital Controls (DDC), lighting retrofits, and the creation of a Building Performance Team comprised of Energy Engineers who identify and implement energy conservation measures.

But in 2004, the University of Michigan needed to do more.  Because heating costs comprise the greatest proportion of energy cost for a typical campus building (47%), the HVAC system was already a significant concern.  With over 22,000 pieces of building equipment over three campuses, it was well worth it to the University to investigate leading-edge technologies to save energy and simplify maintenance.  With the DDC system expanding at over 15% per year, Michigan had to find an innovative solution for maintaining control of the burgeoning system, diagnosing hidden issues and apparent problems, and prioritizing maintenance initiatives for maximum efficiency.

In October of 2004, Facilities Maintenance Building Automation Services Manager David Anderson received funding from the University’s ECM Fund to initiate an Infometrics remote commissioning pilot program, monitoring three buildings on the Ann Arbor campus. ECM Fund applications must be “supported by sufficient engineering analysis to confirm the soundness of the project.  As a general rule, only projects having a payback of five years or less are supported by the ECM Fund.”  Infometrics promised a payback in under two years. The Power Center Theater, the Media Union, and the Administrative Services Building were the first three facilities monitored, with the Bonisteel Building (formerly The Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing) added in December of the same year.  The University saw benefits immediately.

“By using the prioritized recommendations in the monthly Infometrics reports, the University has been able to utilize field support staff more efficiently, sending them to targeted problem areas instead of spending their valuable time analyzing systems that are already performing well”, says Anderson.

Infometrics reports empower maintenance staff to utilize preventive/predictive maintenance plans, saving them valuable time by identifying and prioritizing issues.  Each recommendation is associated with a predicted energy savings value, allowing staff to target the repairs which will save the most first.  Most of the identified issues have been easily corrected without capital expenditure.  Building systems and equipment are optimized for efficiency and comfort, Anderson now has complete knowledge of how systems are functioning, and his staff are more efficiently dispatched to address issues identified by Infometrics.

The success of the Infometrics pilot has led the University of Michigan to expand the remote monitoring program to include twenty additional buildings in 2006 as part of the University’s Energy Conservation and Outreach program, a continuation of the University’s award winning Energy Star program. Infometrics reports have enabled the University to significantly reduce energy and maintenance costs.  The University’s ability to allocate resources to student education and research has been enhanced, ensuring its place at the top of public university education.




Jim Butler
Jim Butler

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