Reinforcing a university-wide commitment to becoming more sustainable and environmentally friendly, a new mechanical upgrade at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Student Service Center will reduce the facility’s monthly power bill by 40 percent.
Southern Miss Research Foundation officials earlier this month installed the new McQuay WMC Model Chiller, a water-cooled centrifugal chiller with a Turbocor compressor that not only provides significant savings in energy costs, but also produces a much smaller carbon footprint.
“Southern Miss Gulf Coast is making significant changes in our facilities in support of Dr. Saunders’ Green Initiative,” said Southern Miss Gulf Coast Associate Provost Pat Joachim. “With this technologically advanced cooling unit, we are taking the first step in making an improved difference that will benefit the university for years to come.”
The unit, composed of environmentally friendly elements, also reduces the amount of makeup water in the center’s 120,000-square-foot facility.
Dr. Jay Grimes, chairman for the Southern Miss Research Foundation, added, “It’s always a win-win situation when a serious problem can be fixed and one can be green in the process.”
One of the features of the new chiller is that it has no bearings. Without bearings, the unit does not require oil and, in turn, does not produce friction. Instead, the unit utilizes a permanent electro-magnetic field that supports the rotor, which is the compressor’s only moving part.
Typical centrifugal chillers require 900 to 1,200 amps to start up each time, which increases the demand factor, but the McQuay Chiller uses only three amps to start up and gradually increases until operating speed is achieved.
In April 2008, Southern Miss President Martha Saunders signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The commitment, a nationwide initiative of college and university presidents and chancellors, was created as a way for campuses to commit to completing an emissions inventory, setting milestones for becoming climate neutral and taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the chiller, the university, along with property manager Pinion Properties, is working to replace existing motor starters for chilled water and heated water pumps with variable frequency drives which greatly reduce energy demand. Fluorescent lighting is also being replaced with energy saving bulbs and ballasts that consume one-tenth the electricity of the previous fixtures.
For more information on Southern Miss’ Green Initiative, call the Office of Sustainability at 601.266.5687 or visit their site on the Web at www.usm.edu/green.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu/gulfcoast .