On Sept. 25 The University of New Mexico’s Farris Engineering Center won the Energy Project of the Year award from the New Mexico Association of Energy Engineers (NMAEE). The award recognizes projects that show innovation in energy management. 

The Farris Engineering Center reopened December of 2017 after an 18-month, $26 million renovation. Throughout the project, the designers focused on sustainability and energy efficiency. 

Accepting the award on behalf of UNM was Bob Notary, Facilities Management associate director for Engineering and Energy Services. 

“The Engineering and Energy Services staff was heavily involved in the project,” said Notary. “Engineering Manager David Penasa, along with Facilities Engineers Don Swick and Chris Grotbeck provided guidance to the contractors and PDC (Planning, Design and Construction) on the energy systems throughout construction.”

The building employs the latest technologies in reducing energy usage. The windows utilize auto-dimming glazing to control the use of overhead lighting and help with temperature management. The HVAC system incorporates advanced energy recovery technology and is integrated with room occupancy sensors to reduce the energy expended on heating and cooling empty rooms. All aspects of the energy systems undergo continuous analysis and adjustment through a state of the art Building Automation System. 

According to Notary, “This is one of many awards that have been attributed to UNM’s on-going commitment to campus sustainability with utility costs being reduced by more than 22 percent during a time of substantial campus growth. The entire sustainability program’s success is the result of the efforts of key Facilities Management Department components, including Utilities, Office of Sustainability, Area Maintenance, and Engineering & Energy Services, as well as the work being done by Lobo Energy. This is a positive program that can make our campus more attractive to potential students.”

NMAEE is the state branch of the international Association of Energy Engineers. Their mission is to, “Promote the scientific and educational interests of those engaged in the energy industry and to foster action for sustainable development.”