Princeton, N.J.: After reducing energy costs from $1.39 to $.89 per square foot in the last three years, Windrows Hall at Princeton Windrows independent lifestyle community has been awarded Energy Star Certification. It is the only building in NJ to be certified in the Energy Star category of Residence Hall/Dormitory. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to help save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices for both home and business. Windrows Hall is a 330,000 square-foot, five-floor midrise and clubhouse building at the heart of the 35-acre campus of villas, town homes and apartment-style condominiums.
The certification resulted as part of the community’s Green Initiative, in which Princeton Windrows residents and staff have invested more than $500,000 in energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices and products; including:
- Converting over 500 bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent
- Replacing the 4 roof top air handling units with 2 that operate more efficiently
- Regulating the amount of fresh air based on occupancy of common areas.
- Reducing the exhaust air to the code required levels
- Using variable frequency drives on the major motors. This results in 75% reduction in power consumption
- Reducing the lighting level in rooms based on occupancy sensors
- Controlling the exterior lighting based on “astronomical” timers that adjust to compensate for the length of the day as the seasons change.
- Using “building automation software” to turn off ac or heating in rooms not in use
- Using “free cooling” at night when demand and costs are low to reduce building core temperatures.
“In addition, although not Energy Star related, we also buy power on the open market, which this year will mean a savings of $51,000,” says Thomas Jennings, Director of Facilities for Princeton Windrows, located at 2000 Windrow Drive in Princeton. “There’s still more to do, but we are pleased with the certification and our progress so far.”
Achieving the Energy Star Certification is a step toward a longer range goal of becoming LEED Certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all systems: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
“Our goal is LEED, but that’s further out on the horizon,” Jennings says. “I would say the next goal is a solar installation, while we continue to find innovative ways to cut electrical consumption.”
Sherry Wagner, Executive Director at Princeton Windrows, echoes Jennings’ focus on the future.
“We are all proud to achieve Energy Star Certification and will continue to work to become even more efficient and further reduce our carbon footprint,” Wagner says.
The Green Initiative concept was implemented by Jennings with the support of Princeton Windrows’ Executive Chef/Director of Culinary services Richard Blagrave, Wagner, the Princeton Windrows Condominium Association board and the residents.
“This is a basic and long-term commitment that we all wholeheartedly support,” says Russell Marks, resident and condo association board member.”
Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved enough energy in 2009 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars, while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills, according to their website at: www.energystar.gov.