Press Building Retrocommissioning

The University of Chicago Press is a prominent and historical division of the University located on the southeast end of campus. Now considered America’s largest university press, it has three operating divisions—Books, Journals, and Distribution Services. As a result of these critical and vital operations, the Press facility has landed in the campus’ ‘top 38’ – a grouping of buildings responsible for approximately 80% of the campus energy consumption. 

Due to this high energy profile and critical work environment, Facilities Services (FS) initiated a Preventative Maintenance and Commissioning (PM+Cx) strategy designed to provide an in-depth look at building systems and components to find and fix equipment that may be underperforming. 

FS staff members John Kalkirtz, building automation engineer, James Murphy, commissioning engineer, and Chris Mitchell, building engineer, used their technical expertise in partnership with the University of Chicago Press Deputy Director & CFO, Christopher Heiser, to develop a deep understanding of the program and staff requirements for space performance to prioritize and evaluate opportunities. The team identified and executed four system improvement measures that reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, reduced the risk of disruptions due to system failure, and improved occupant comfort. 

In order to be responsive to varying changes in building usage over the course of the academic year, the team adjusted operating schedules and thermostat setpoints for building air conditioning and heating equipment. By creating programming that adjusts to differences in building intensity by academic quarter, this measure improved occupant comfort and reduced energy use intensity by over six percent since the project started in August 2019. Measurement and verification are complete for the comprehensive PM+Cx project at the University Press Building, and the project is expected to achieve an annual reduction of 216 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The University’s energy management information system will be used to validate the energy efficiency model and ensure that building systems continue to perform and achieve the expected energy use reductions.

The University of Chicago is a proud United States Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR® Partner, collaborating with peer institutions to reduce higher education campus energy usage. The goal of this energy efficiency program is to: (1) reduce the impact on the environment as about 70 percent of University greenhouse gas emissions are from energy usage in campus buildings; (2) redirect funds currently going to utility providers back into the maintenance of our campus buildings; and (3) reduce the risk of disruption to our educational and research mission by locating and correcting issues before systems and components in our buildings fail. More than 200 energy efficiency measures have been completed in the University of Chicago campus buildings since 2009, and buildings will continue to be the primary target of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

How Do I?

UChicagoSocial: Facilities Services