For its retro-commissioning
project that reduces campus
energy costs by $25,000 per
year, Cerritos College has received
the California Community Colleges
Board of Governors 2017 Energy and
The retro-commissioning project for its science building involved
the installation of reliable control
sequences on air handlers to make
them more energy-efficient. In total,
the project cost $577,000 with financial incentives including approximately $350,000 of Proposition 39 funds,
$46,000 of Investor Owned Utility
rebates and $181,000 of district funds.
The project is estimated to save
62,000 kWh and 6,900 therms, which
equates to $25,000 annually.
Cerritos College has taken on
eco-friendly policies that promote
sustainability for the campus. In 2014,
Cerritos College received the Green
Community College Leadership Award
from Green Technology Magazine for
water conservation efforts that save
the campus 30 million gallons of
water each year.
“The award is a testament to our
strong commitment to developing
a campus that is energy-efficient
and sustainable in order to minimize
our environmental impact, save on
operation and maintenance costs, and
ensure a safe and quality learning
environment for our students,” says
Zurich Lewis, President of Board of
Trustees for Cerritos College.
For more information on the college’s efforts, visit www.cerritos.edu/
How a California
$25,000 in Energy
CERRITOS COLLEGE RECEIVED
AN AWARD FOR ITS RETRO-
REENERGIZE RENO is looking for build-
ings to participate in a new energy and
water benchmarking program.
Reno, NV, is joining 45 other municipalities by launching a city-wide effort as part
of the Better Buildings Challenge. Dubbed
Reenergize Reno, the initiative is intended to
increase the energy and water efficiency of
participating buildings 20% by 2025.
Reenergize Reno is seeking businesses,
educational institutions, building owners
and multifamily developers willing to participate in the program, which requires annual
benchmarking to confirm the savings. The
city is also enrolling 38 municipal buildings
in the program, noting that “this effort will
reduce utility bills and maintenance costs,
freeing up funds for other city priorities,”
according to a statement.
All participants must select at least one
showcase building to participate and track
both energy and water consumption with
ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager tool.
Performance data is kept confidential by the
city, though participants are encouraged to
share cost-effective solutions to serve as
examples for others to follow.
“Investments in cost-effective building
efficiency strategies will stimulate innovation, bolster our economy, promote a
healthy environment and create highly
skilled jobs within the community,” city
officials say. “Utilities represent 29% of
the average company’s operating budget.
Fortunately, we have the technology to
make our buildings vastly more efficient.”
Reno Launches Benchmarking Initiative
BEHIND THIS NEVADA DESTINATION’S MISSION TO CUT SPENDING AND WASTE
A new electrochemical process that turns
carbon dioxide into usable ethanol with
tiny spikes of carbon and copper was
discovered almost by accident, says Adam
Rondinone, a researcher at the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory and lead author of the
study describing the process.
The research team used a catalyst made
of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied
voltage to it, setting off a chemical reaction
that essentially reverses the combustion
process. The carbon dioxide dissolved in
water turned into ethanol with a yield of
63%, a noteworthy result given that this kind
of reaction usually yields smaller amounts of
several different byproducts.
“We were trying to study the first step of
a proposed reaction when we realized that
the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on
its own,” Rondinone explains. “We’re taking
carbon dioxide, a waste product of combus-
tion, and pushing that reaction backwards
with very high selectivity to a useful fuel.
Ethanol was a surprise – it’s extremely dif-
How Carbon Dioxide Becomes Ethanol
ficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to
ethanol with a single catalyst.”
The catalyst’s nanoscale structure con-
sists of copper nanoparticles embedded
in carbon spikes. Using common materials
like these and arranging them with nano-
technology limits side reactions and avoids
the use of rare or expensive metals, which
have previously limited the economic viabil-
ity of other catalysts. The spiky surface is
likely what made the difference in this case,
according to the researchers’ initial analysis,
since it provided a large number of reactive
sites to facilitate the chemical conversion.
RESEARCHERS ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVER NEW WASTE-TO-FUEL TECHNOLOGY