Facilities Feature: Ken Martin

Ken MartinKen Martin graduated from Auburn University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Alabama, a Certified Energy Manager (C.E.M.) with the Association of Energy Engineers, and a LEED Green Associate. Ken has served for the past nine years as an Energy Engineer in the Utilities and Energy Department. He enjoys finding energy savings for the University and coaching his daughters’ soccer teams.

What do you do as an energy engineer?

As an energy engineer, I am charged with reducing energy consumption on campus. This includes gas, electricity and water reduction. Although the goal is to reduce energy, we make sure that our projects result in a positive impact towards the University’s mission.

What types of projects are you and others in the Energy Department currently working on to help reduce energy and to save costs?

We are working on commissioning, utility plant optimizations, building programming, and metering projects – projects that have a big impact to the entire campus.

We focus on Commissioning in two areas. The first is Continuous Commissioning. We utilize a Boston firm Cimetrics. They monitor 4-6 buildings a year for us. They poll all of the controls points for the subject buildings and monitor them on a 24/7 basis. They generate reports for us to show us where there are opportunities for improvement. Continuous Commissioning can only be done where the building has enough electronic control points to monitor. The second area of commissioning is called Retro-Commissioning. This can be done on any building on campus. The intent of Retro-Commissioning is to understand the original design intent of the building and return it to proper operation. We have had a few outside consulting firms study buildings for us and recommend improvements. We are working to bring these efforts in-house.

Utility Plant Optimizations: Out biggest users on campus from a utilities point of view are the chilled water, hot water, and steam plants. We work with our Plant Operations crew to look for ways to help them operate as efficiently as possible. Small improvements to these facilities can have big impacts in energy reductions.

Building Programming: This has evolved quite a bit in the nine years I have been here. At first, we focused mainly on scheduling buildings for occupied and unoccupied modes. Since then, lighting controls in buildings have become much more common. Within the buildings, programming schemes have improved to capture even more savings. Programming strategies such as Static Pressure Resets, Chilled and Hot Water DP Resets, Discharge Air Temp Resets, and Hot Water Temp Resets have been very effective.

Metering: We have increased our data from the buildings thanks to installing a wireless meter reading system on campus. We can now receive hourly data for the majority of buildings on campus. This system helps us analyze how effective our energy efforts are when they are implemented. We have utilized the Aclara system to find water leaks much faster. The system also is being used as an outage notification system for the electrical service on campus.

What project has saved the University the most dollars to date? How much was saved?

Building programming has saved the University the most dollars. Scaling buildings back when not in use has significant savings. It typically results in a 10-15 percent reduction per building.

What can everyone at AU do to help reduce energy?

We tell our campus customers that everyone needs to be as responsible for their own utility usage here as they are at home. Being wasteful of our utilities can have an impact on every single person. More usage = more cost.

What do you enjoy doing away from work?

I enjoy wakeboarding, although, the lack of a ski boat has a negative effect on that. I really enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters. I am coaching both of my girls’ soccer teams right now. Being with the girls as they grow up and have new experiences is fun to watch.

Last Updated: April 01, 2014