Campus creates 'smart' building, reducing carbon footprint

Valentin Berrelleza Berumen

Valentin Berrelleza Berumen, BMS programmer, worked to install and fine-tune the new technology.

Staff at Recital Hall
From left: Jeffrey Potter, Susan Gautieri, Sarah Gilchrist, Dave Morrison, and Dan Miceli

UC Santa Cruz has significantly cut the Music Center's energy use, part of a collaboration with PG&E to make buildings more efficient.

The campus installed occupancy and carbon dioxide sensors to monitor the building's use so it is only heated and cooled as needed. The sensors are connected to a server that monitors energy usage to make sure the building is running efficiently.

This project is an example of the commitment by staff to work across divisions to improve campus sustainability and efficiency. The project was developed and implemented by the Physical Plant Building and Management System staff, led by senior superintendent Dan Miceli, and implemented by BMS controls technician Valentin Berrelleza Berumen.

The Music Center's building staff, particularly facilities manager Susan Gautieri and music production supervisor Dave Morrison, worked closely with the BMS team as the building houses highly sensitive musical instruments and equipment, and includes the Recital Hall, which seats 396 guests.

This kind of collaboration allowed the campus to significantly reduce its campus carbon footprint while maintaining the comfort and control needed for this sensitive space.

"The building lives, breathes, and reacts to its usage and needs," campus Energy Manager Patrick Testoni said. "This project is just one example of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by harnessing modern technology and working collaboratively across divisions and with our utility provider."

The project, completed in September 2014, resulted in a 19 percent reduction of electricity (91,000 annual kilowatt hours), a 44 percent reduction in natural gas usage (10,000 annual therms), and a 22 percent reduction in electrical demand (44kW hours) during peak hours.

All this adds up to an annual CO2 reduction of 98 tons, which is equal to approximately 45 homes in Santa Cruz County.

Additionally, the campus received a rebate check from PG&E for nearly $32,000, helping offset the project's cost of the $150,000 project. Similar work was done at Earth and Marine Sciences, and Engineering 2.

"This the future of what we do," Testoni said. "There's a lot of wasted energy out there. This is about using less, not sacrificing our comfort."

The University of California, California State University, and California's four large investor-owned utilities (PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas) established an energy efficiency partnership in 2004 in order to provide a sustainable and comprehensive energy management program for all 33 UC and CSU campuses.

Dan Miceli, senior superintendent and head of the Building Management Systems shop, and Valentin Berrelleza Berumen, BMS programmer, worked to install and fine-tune the new technology.

Other staff who worked on the project include:

  • Johnny Clifton, high voltage electrical engineer
  • Susan Gautieri, Music Center facilities manager
  • Dave Morrison, Music Production supervisor
  • David Ciolino, Physical Plant project manager
  • Sarah Gilchrist, energy analyst
  • Patrick Testoni, energy manager