Chair's Update 1st Quarter 2016

By Bruce Ander posted 06-25-2017 19:16


We move into 2016 without an old friend. John Gray, a steady fixture within the IDEA community, passed away Nov. 10, 2015. John was important to this association, and IDEA was important to him. For nearly 50 years, John at­tended our conferences and events. Beyond his deep technical knowledge, he may be even bet­ter remembered for his persona at the podium delivering the annual banquet invocation.

John will be present at IDEA for decades to come. The John Gray Scholarship Fund, established in 2009, will continue to recognize young people who plan to pursue academic studies related to our industry. Future confer­ence attendees will see John's personality, presence and humor through video. One of his lasting messages to us all, spoken at his final annual IDEA conference in 2008, is to "live simply, give more, expect less." John, I believe I speak for the entire IDEA family in saying you certainly gave more, and we will remember you with warmth and gratitude. IDEA honors John with a special tribute in this magazine issue on page 30.

We also move into 2016 continuing to "embrace change." At our evolvingENERGY conference in December, IDEA spent some interesting days in Vancouver where we wit­nessed the rapid pace of district energy de­velopment in this western region of Canada. We now have the opportunity to visit Austin, Texas, in February, where our district energy system host may arguably be the most effi­cient district energy/CHP/microgrid system in all of North America. The University of Texas at Austin hosts IDEA's 29th Annual Campus Energy Conference: "The Changing Land­scape." A record number of presentations were submitted for consideration in what should be a "top drawer" technical program.

Many delegates will have an opportunity to visit the UT Austin campus. The story behind this system is impressive. The campus has gen­erated 100 percent of its own electric power and thermal energy since 1928. Over the past 40 years, UT Austin has grown from 9 million sq ft to 20 million sq ft in total campus build­ing space and during this time has doubled the power it produces from 184 million kWh to 372 million kWh. While the campus has doubled in size and energy load, it consumes the same amount of fuel as it did in 1977.

So how does this translate into perfor­mance? The campus has increased its energy production efficiency from 62 percent to almost 90 percent. UT Austin estimates the annual environmental benefit exceeds 91,000 tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of remov­ing 30,000 cars from Texas roads. Now serving more than 160 campus buildings, the system has achieved 99.997 percent reliability over this 40-year period. For those mission-critical buffs, five nines of reliability translate into fewer than 10 hours of unscheduled downtime in more than 350,000 operating hours.

Efficient, reliable, resilient, clean. UT Aus­tin is the entire package, and it's not a surprise that this campus system has received interna­tional awards and recognition. It is also turning heads at the U.S. Green Building Council. At the USGBC's Greenbuild Leadership Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C., Juan Ontiveros, UT Austin's associate vice president for utilities, energy and facilities management (and former IDEA chair), was selected as the first recipient of the council's Robert W. Galvin Award for Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal. The USGBC created this award to honor the legacy of former Motorola CEO Bob Galvin, who founded the Galvin Electricity Initiative for Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal.

USGBC's Nov. 19 press release stated, "Under his direction, the University of Texas at Austin has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in energy efficiency and capacity upgrades, all of which have been covered by energy savings." While I wasn't there to hear Juan's acceptance remarks, I am sure he rec­ognized his team for everything that has been accomplished in his system over the years.

This award, recognizing Juan and UT Austin, is another concrete example of change and transformation. Here we have a leading campus district energy system that receives an award for performance excellence in electricity renewal. This is change I can embrace.


Markham District Energy Inc.

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