maintenance and operational team. All
plant investments over the past 11 years
have provided savings that exceed the
debt service, freeing up funds that can
be used for academic and research purposes rather than energy costs. I would
have never believed that we could exceed
a total efficiency of 80 percent.
And now it is with great pride that I
look forward to being the chair of IDEA
and to beginning the next 100 years of
the association. I will work hard to carry
on IDEA’s 100-year tradition of excellence.
Q. What advice would you like to
share with people who are new to the
district energy and/or CHP industries?
A. This is a great business, and there
are many simple as well as technologically advanced tools and industry
experts available to help you succeed. To
position oneself for success, I recommend taking these steps:
1. Install digital controls throughout
2. Validate the performance of all significant equipment. If you do not measure
your performance, you cannot improve.
3. Centrally gather all pertinent data
using a historian.
4. Be personally willing to take risk. It is
much easier to do nothing, but then
you will also get nothing.
5. Position and empower your employees
to accept reasonable risk and hire
managers who are willing to take calculated risk.
6. Force yourself to pay for the training
that will allow you to use technology
to your advantage.
7. Get to know your peers and ask them
for advice. Whatever problem you may
encounter, someone else out there has
most certainly encountered it before
8. Also ask for input from industry
experts, as you cannot know everything. But make sure you convert it
into an action plan; do not just place
it on a shelf and forget about it.
9. Be brutally honest with yourself in
identifying your weaknesses. The
biggest part of solving any problem
is knowing that you have a problem.
Q. What do you think is the most
valuable aspect of IDEA membership?
A. How much knowledge, camaraderie
and willingness to share exist in the
members of IDEA. But if you do not
engage with other members, you will
never know this. So engage yourself,
share your lessons learned and be open
to new ideas.
Q. UT Austin is known for its solid
utility operations and high efficiency.
What is next for UT Austin? Is there
still room for improvement?
A. Exceeding 80 percent total efficiency
and approaching 90 percent is going to
be tough to beat, but the campus is still
growing. About 1 million new square
feet are under construction right now,
with more expansion to come. Handling
this growth effectively will be critical to
sustaining the efficiencies we’ve gained.
The most potentially challenging
issues at UT Austin may be carbon tax
legislation or the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s enforcement of carbon
dioxide emissions restrictions and dealing
with impending baby boomer retirements.
Q. When you’re not on the job, what
do you like to do?
A. I like to cook and spend time with
the family, and I have been playing tennis
for about 40 years. In sports, I have a
strong allegiance to the Texas Longhorns
because of their infectious sports program;
but my heart is deeply rooted with the
Texas Western College (now UT El Paso,
my alma mater) NCAA champion basketball team of 1966, and of course, the
I also enjoy studying mineral specimens in my free time. I have extensive
knowledge of Mexican mineral specimens
because that was my parents’ business.
In fact, my father sold many specimens
to the Smithsonian Institution that are
currently exhibited in its Hall of Geology,
Gems, & Minerals.
For more than 100 years, IDEA has been connecting, informing and
advancing the district energy industry.
Informing presidents and prime ministers, mayors and members from
around the world.
Connecting people. Connecting buildings. Connecting resources.
Advancing the industry … from Toledo, Ohio, in 1909 to Dubai, UAE, in 2009.
The scale of efficient district energy … a proven technology whose time is now!
Become a member today!
Contact Len Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (508) 366-9339 or visit www.districtenergy.org.