Mississippi Launches Public Building Energy Efficiency Pilot
Because Mississippi’s Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) represent over 40% of Mississippi’s public building portfolio, a 20% reduction in energy consumption would result in substantial savings to the General Fund. With support from a State Energy Program Competitive Award, the Mississippi Development Authority launched an effort to develop a strategy for assessing the performance of buildings and prioritizing energy efficiency retrofit projects. Mississippi expanded its public building benchmarking effort to facilities at IHLs, which provided a sound basis for prioritizing and implementing energy efficiency upgrades. Energy efficiency projects undertaken at the IHLs realized significant energy and energy cost savings to the General Fund. Eager to achieve savings across the entire public building portfolio, Mississippi compiled auditing and retrofitting best practices into manuals that are available to IHLs, state agencies, and local governments.
Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) comprise 43% of the Mississippi public building portfolio by square footage. Recognizing the significance of the sector’s potential to effect major statewide energy savings, the IHL Energy Management Council, a governing body composed of representatives from each institution including students, faculty, staff, administration, energy management professionals, and technical staff, set a bold goal to reduce energy consumption in their facilities by 20% by 2020.
State energy efficiency policy further emphasized public buildings in subsequent years. In October 2012, Governor Phil Bryant introduced his state energy plan, Energy Works: Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap, which recognized the economic benefits of energy efficiency and challenged state agencies to lead by example and cut their energy use intensity. Then in 2013, the Mississippi Energy Sustainability and Development Act, HB 1296, required the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to collect energy data from all state facilities, including IHLs. All state agencies are required by law to report energy consumption and costs monthly online or face penalties.
MDA has utilized a cloud-based energy data collection system to collect electrical, natural gas, and fuel oil consumption data since 2010. With funding from the State Energy Program, MDA launched a project to benchmark IHL facilities’ energy use in this system and use the findings to retrofit facilities with greatest energy savings potential.
Continued participation and support from project partners and stakeholders were critical to the success of the project. Therefore, MDA’s first step in organizing its project was to recruit the best partners for the effort, based on their experience in energy efficiency, building energy retrofits, engineering, and project management. An MDA program manager led and supervised the operations of partners, which comprised a private utility consultant, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), the IHL Energy Management Council, and Mississippi’s Department of Finance and Administration Bureau of Building, Grounds, and Real Property Management (DFA).
In addition to these partners, MDA built strong relationships with critical stakeholders, including a private sector energy and operational performance platform developer, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the facilities managers at eight universities: Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State
University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
MDA convened partners and stakeholders at a kickoff meeting in March 2013 in order to align project goals and seek support. During the meeting, MDA and the platform developer presented the project plan and introduced the cloud-based energy data collection system as the central data collection system for the project.