Shannon Enterprises of W.N.Y. Inc., a designer and maker of reusable thermal and acoustic insulation, has helped George Mason University save more than $1 million since 2009 with reusable insulation for the university’s heating and cooling system. The university’s energy manager calculated the milestone based on annual energy savings accumulated from using a self-contained, reusable insulation system.
From 2009 to 2017, George Mason University’s Fairfax, Va., campus installed more than 725 custom-engineered reusable blankets on boilers, valves and pumps in the Central Heating and Cooling Plant; valves, fittings and expansion joints in tunnel vaults; and fittings and valves in mechanical rooms.
“By reducing heat loss and energy, we got a payback in under 15 months with our reusable blankets,” said Patrick Buchanan, university energy manager for George Mason. “With the blankets installed we can safely work alongside the valves and fittings, and the ambient temperature has dropped from extreme to comfortable.”
In early 2009, Shannon and its Virginia manufacturer’s representative CVA Energy, and Industrial Products, Inc. teamed up to survey the university’s equipment for radiant heat loss and provide a solution for saving energy, minimizing insulation maintenance and eliminating safety concerns across the Fairfax campus. Shannon’s team precisely measured the university’s Central Heating and Cooling Plant equipment and high-temperature-hot-water components, so it could produce a reusable blanket to exactly fit each component or piece of equipment.
“We paid for the blankets through a voluntary demand response program with CPower Energy Management, which compensated us for reducing electric load when asked by our utility,” said Buchanan.
The university’s Central Heating and Cooling Plant equipment and high-temperature-hot-water components provide a heating capacity of approximately 115,000 MMBtu to more than 145 buildings. According to Buchanan, the George Mason facilities footprint grew from roughly 3.5 million square feet in 2006 to 9 million square feet today, yet the university’s energy costs only increased 20 percent.
“Reusable blankets were definitely part of keeping energy costs low during this period,” said Buchanan. “All insulation is not the same; unless you’re working with someone who knows the right approach, you can think you have it handled when you actually don’t.”
“If you accurately identify all the areas of heat loss and engineer and install reusable insulation correctly, an energy manager’s cost of ownership is little to none,” added Frank Kovacs, president of Shannon.