Iam writing my last column as IDEA chair, and what a year it has been! It is hard to believe it has been nearly
a year since we celebrated the association’s 100th anniversary at the incredible
National Building Museum in Washington,
D.C. I will always remember that evening.
Seeing so many of you in the audience
affirmed for me what a great association
this is. Our business certainly is about systems, equipment, pipe and engineering –
but it is nothing without people. I feel
charged knowing that the talents, creativity, dedication and drive of our membership
will take IDEA into the next 100 years and
beyond. I also know that our members’
projects and applications will continue
advancing the cause of IDEA in a manner
that benefits the environment.
We are starting to see traction among
political decision makers and local leaders
that energy efficiency is the low-hanging
fruit when it comes to addressing climate
change. Every day I see more and more
media coverage indicating that energy
efficiency has to be part of the solution.
It parallels my career focus, which has
always been increasing energy efficiency.
It’s what led me to my theme “Creating
an Efficient Energy Future.” We need to
continue driving forward our message.
I have had the good fortune of work-
ing at one of the largest campus district
energy systems in the U.S. We have been
able to use technologies and strategies
that have reduced our energy intensity,
increased energy efficiency and reduced
carbon emissions. We have shown that
energy efficiency pays dividends in savings,
independent of the actual fuel cost. Sure,
the more you pay for fuel, the higher the
savings, but efficiency is a core principle we
have believed in and continue to practice.
Efficiency never goes out of style.
My colleagues at institutions like
Princeton, Mizzou, Cornell and The
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
have implemented effective strategies to
reduce energy intensity. Sometimes economic realities hamper efforts to increase
energy efficiency. Sometimes we need
capital to make operational improvements
or modernize systems to meet load growth
or new energy requirements. But no matter
what the situation, we need to maintain the
highest-possible level of reliability. As owners and operators of district energy systems
for research campuses or in an urban setting, we have an obligation to ensure high-quality, uninterrupted energy is delivered.
The key to success in all of this is
sharing information among ourselves and
beyond, information from equipment
vendors who are continually improving
their capabilities; from peers with valuable
experience and insight to share; and from
consultants who can help make technologies and strategies easier to adapt, more
cost-effective and ultimately more valuable
to end-users. This information is available
at IDEA. It is a nexus for sharing experience and information.
My term as IDEA chair has opened
a world of opportunity to me – to share
information and my experience in running
large chiller plants with colleagues in the
© 2010 International District Energy Association. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
United Arab Emirates and to visit world-class district energy systems in Denmark
and see how our European colleagues
are achieving ever-higher levels of energy
efficiency, fuel flexibility and lower carbon
solutions. We all face the common challenge of educating decision makers on the
value of district energy and CHP.
The past year also has reinforced my
belief that collaboration within our industry is important, including learning, sharing and working together to advance our
systems’ energy efficiency. IDEA has been
a powerful professional resource for me.
It also has helped our entire UT Austin
team become better engineers, operators
and stewards of our institution’s assets.
As my term comes to a close, I extend
my thanks to Monica Westerlund, who will
be stepping down from her post as executive editor of District Energy magazine. She
has served the organization for 20 years
and been a constant creative voice for our
industry. We wish her continued success.
I also am grateful to the dedicated and
insightful board members who have served
alongside me over the years. In particular
we will sorely miss the experience and
knowledge of outgoing board members
Jim Adams, Cornell University; Gregg Coffin,
University of Missouri in Columbia; Tim
Merrill, NRG Energy Center Pittsburgh; Tom
Pierson, TAS Packaged Central Plants; and
Steve Tredinnick, Syska Hennessy Group.
I would be remiss if I failed to congratulate and thank Dennis Fotinos from
Enwave for his enthusiastic leadership and
commitment to IDEA for the past decade.
Thank you! I will continue to serve as past
chair and look forward to supporting Dave
Toombs of Citizens Thermal as he takes
the helm this June in Indianapolis.
My thanks to all of you for making
the year a special one. Let us continue
to work together to create an efficient
Executive Director of Utilities
and Energy Management
The University of Texas at Austin
District Energy / Second Quarter 2010 3