Even before COVID-19, small colleges and universities faced challenging circumstances. In order to compete for prospective students, schools needed to control costs to keep tuition affordable; provide comfortable, up-to-date facilities; and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and the environment. For Queens University of Charlotte, the challenge was compounded by an urgent need to replace critical equipment required to reliably deliver energy to buildings on campus. There was a solution, however: the Metrus Sustainable Energy Services Agreement (SESA), which made it possible to achieve the upgrades and savings it needed — with no upfront cost.
Queens University of Charlotte – “where big city meets small school” – has learned to adapt since it was founded in 1857 as the Charlotte Female Institute, eventually evolving into a diverse university that today includes enhanced opportunities for student learning, more emphasis on adult learners and online education, and a focus on values, culture, and ethical living.
But in order to continue to evolve and flourish, Queens recognized that it needed to address the issues of energy costs, sustainability, and the comfort and quality of the campus environment – and do so without adversely impacting its balance sheet. Among its most pressing needs were the replacement of three chillers and an outdated building management system.
The Metrus SESA made it possible for Queens to be agile and make the necessary equipment upgrades without upfront capital. The school elected to add LED lighting and water efficiency measures to the project in order to achieve even greater energy savings and CO2 reductions.
“It was exciting to watch the transformation of our campus with the installation of state-of-the-art equipment that will increase our efficiency and resiliency” said Troy Luttman, campus architect at Queens. “More than just savings, these upgrades reflect our values as a school and a community, and our belief in a sustainable energy future."
With Centrica as its ESCO partner, Metrus implemented upgrades in 25 campus buildings. Under the 15-year SESA term, the project will net Queens an expected annual savings of nearly $190,000 based on a total project investment of $1,780,000. The upgrades will result in annual CO2 savings of 653 metric tons. Just as importantly, as an off balance sheet solution the Metrus SESA enabled the university to preserve its capital for other mission-related initiatives that will define the Queens of tomorrow.