Campus plant engineers save energy – and lots of money – with innovative changes

Article by: Janet Paulson

A three-person, behind-the-scenes team saved Clackamas Community College $1.7 million in the last four years by engineering a host of energy- savings measures.

Bill Leach, recently retired dean of Campus Services, had a vision for a campus run as efficiently as possible, not only to save money, but to be environmentally responsible.

Campus plant engineers Hilmo Ljucevic, Rodney Osterhoudt and Jeff Tapp made it happen.

The biggest savings came from retooling two giant boilers that power eight of CCC’s buildings. The team modified them to heat early in the morning, when electrical rates are lower, and improved the combustion process, so the burners would run more efficiently. These changes and other projects have resulted in a $747,000 savings since 2004-05.

Five solar hot water panels now augment the hot water supply for Randall Gym and Pauling Hall, the science building.

An experimental geothermal project uses plastic pipe coils buried in the ground to help cool the Campus Services building.

And the changes haven’t stopped there. An energy audit is under way to show CCC other ways to further invest in energy-related savings.

“It’s been an amazing process to watch,” says Bob Cochran, dean of Campus Services. “I came in on the tail end, and it was pretty impressive. I’m just thankful to be a part of this remarkable group.” 

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