FLINT — Sometimes it really is who you know, not just what you know. Jeff Converse, senior HVAC technician for Kettering University’s Physical Plant and the man in charge of the boilers that provide steam heat for the majority of buildings on campus, can attest to that.
Converse heard through vendor Morris Mechanical that Consumers Energy had a rebate incentive called the Business Solutions Program, for companies that upgraded the energy efficiency of their HVAC systems — including boilers. The program would pay up to 60 percent of upgrading costs. He proposed the idea to the university and got the go-ahead to have new sensors installed that regulate fuel burn efficiency in two of Kettering’s three main boilers.
The sensors are continuously making micro-adjustments in the system resulting in a three percent improvement in energy efficiency and a reduction in the pollutants emitted.
“It translates into a $27,000 per year savings in gas consumption per boiler,” said Converse.
The price tag for the new sensors was just over $64,000. While Kettering had been approved by Consumers Energy for the program in 2012, the program funds were depleted before Consumers could reimburse the University the 60 percent of upgrade costs promised. Being bumped into the 2013 budget year turned out to be in the University’s favor however. The 2013 Consumers program reimbursed the University for the full amount of almost $65,000.
Converse is now working on getting the third main boiler fitted with new sensors in addition to adding a reverse osmosis water filter to the boiler system to cut down on maintenance costs and down time. The boilers, or “the girls” as Converse calls them, supply heat to Thompson Residence Hall, the Campus Center, Academic Building and the Mott Engineering and Science Center.