$26 million in Rochester energy savings

March 4, 2018

Inspired by one of Mayo’s values to “wisely manage our human, natural and material resources,” staff from Facilities Operations and other departments went to work, studying each building and system to identify ways — big and small — to reduce Mayo’s energy use.

“Mayo leadership made a bold move to establish a stretch goal for energy reduction in Rochester,” says Brett Gorden, Facilities Operations, who is responsible for energy management. “Our department took the challenge head on, from implementing ways to operate and maintain the buildings more efficiently to designing and constructing new spaces that are more energy-efficient. Changes that seem small in isolation have had an enormous impact when combined.”

Learn how an army of Facilities Operations and Information Technology (IT) staff, with assistance from Facilities Project Services and IT, worked together to reduce Mayo’s energy spending:

Since 2012, seven Mayo Clinic parking ramps in Rochester, such as the Graham Ramp pictured above, have been retrofitted with LED lighting. The result was an energy savings of $309,000 annually and more well-lit areas, which create a safer environment for visitors and staff.

Computer and monitor updates

Mayo Clinic’s IT Department has been upgrading workstations in the Rochester campus as part of its refresh program. The new computer workstations (including monitors) consume just 110 watts of electricity, while the older workstations consume about 285 watts of electricity.

Recalibrated building automation systems

Building automation systems control a building’s energy needs and consumption around the clock. Facilities Operations has been recalibrating these systems to optimize energy use. This allows the mechanical equipment in the building to operate when needed but slow down when needs are met. In the Stabile Building, this has reduced annual energy consumption by more than 20 percent.

Retrofitted fume hoods

After it was discovered that almost half of Rochester’s 400 fume hoods were left open and turned on overnight, Facilities Operations installed new controls to maintain safe airflow — no longer requiring the user to turn the fume hood on and off. In the Hilton Building, this has resulted in annual savings of about $40,000.

Over time, duct systems can develop tiny leaks, as shown in the image at left above. In this photograph, dust marks the location of areas that are no longer sealed. Leaks are being resealed by adding a special product into the duct system that coagulates where there is a pressure difference near unwanted holes. This process has reduced leaks by 95 percent and reduced annual energy costs by $162,000 in the Guggenheim Building alone.

Insulation blankets

Steam piping, valves and traps are extremely hot. These blankets cover the hot surfaces, while allowing for easy access for maintenance. This reduces burn risks, while conserving energy as more heat remains in the system to be used where it’s needed.

Efficient plant operations

Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus has a long history of using central plants to serve Mayo’s energy needs. Downtown buildings are served by Franklin Heating Station (built in 1927) and Prospect Utility Plant (built in 2000). Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, is served by the Saint Marys Power Plant (built in 1910). These plants supply a network of piped utilities within a network of tunnels on each campus to provide steam, electricity and chilled water to all of the buildings. All three plants take advantage of cogeneration to produce steam and electricity simultaneously. For example, the Saint Marys Power Plant generates almost 85 percent of the annual electricity consumed on the Saint Marys Campus.

Heat recovery systems

The energy recovery wheel transfers energy from building exhaust air to the incoming outside air being supplied to the building. This reduces the amount of energy needed to heat the cold outside air in the winter or cool the outside air in the summer. This strategy is being used in many other buildings, including the Alfred, Francis, Generose, Guggenheim, Jacobson and Medical Sciences buildings, and Superior Drive Support Center.

What’s in store for the future?

Even though the team reached its goal two years early, work continues to optimize Mayo’s energy use. “We want to celebrate surpassing the 20 percent goal, but we also believe there is still a great deal of opportunity for energy savings,” Gorden says. “We continue to review the operations of existing buildings to ensure maximum efficiency. We are also working on providing real-time monitoring of energy systems to make sure we maintain the current performance levels and identify additional opportunities for improvement.”