Putting good ideas to work
The key institution within Cleveland’s University Circle district, Case Western Reserve University (Case Western) is one of the leading research institutes in the United States. The institution is dedicated to its pledge to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment made in 2008; and needed to translate ambition into action to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Recognizing the need to manage its energy management and ongoing costs, Case Western commissioned Sasaki Associates and BuroHappold Engineering to develop its campus masterplan. The project included developing a comprehensive energy management strategy that would streamline operations, reduce energy costs and support the University’s sustainability and climate neutrality goals.
The project uncovered a variety of barriers to successfully implementing the recommendations made by the project team. In addition to challenges presented by historic buildings and research activity on campus, the University’s own timelines and budgets meant that opportunities to improve energy performance were being missed. Therefore, two years after the completion of the masterplan, BuroHappold was re-commissioned as part of the strategic planning team to create an Energy Improvement Plan (EIP), building on issues and opportunities identified during the first project.
In order to achieve its carbon neutrality goal, Case Western needed to build and operate greener, more efficient buildings and invest in low-carbon infrastructure. Due to a number of ongoing maintenance and project scheduling concerns, the initial efforts to achieve this had fallen behind.
Working closely with the University to review and prioritize the wide variety of construction projects, we aimed to refocus on making significant progress towards achieving campus energy and climate targets. The purpose of the EIP is to enhance the University’s energy performance by improving institutional decision-making processes related to the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of its buildings and infrastructure.
Our engineers evaluated the potential impact of individual projects through new processes, allowing project managers the tools to shed light on opportunities as they arise and ultimately implement impactful, value-added capital projects. Throughout the development of the EIP, we engaged the University’s internal project management teams, space planning staff, school facility managers, and the Office for Sustainability; ensuring that those responsible for implementing the EIP were intimately involved in shaping it.
Equipped with the right tools and processes, the University’s project management teams will be able to bring about real and lasting change. The EIP provides actionable steps and project management tools that will enable Case Western to apply an integrated design process that is informed by energy performance and total cost of ownership.
The EIP is designed to develop clear paths and actions for Case Western to conserve energy, reduce emissions and energy costs, streamline operations, and create transparent decision-making processes that drive GHG emissions downward. It establishes a sound decision-making framework that considers total cost of ownership and other value propositions, appropriate budgets for implementing new processes and projects, and financial and human resources to get the job done.
With smarter investments, these institutions will be ready and able to reduce energy use, act more strategically, and effectively manage risks while positively impacting their core missions.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply