The University of Utah: An Energy Monitoring Pioneer.
What can one say about the customer who started it all for us? The University of Utah (“the U“) was founded in 1850 and is nestled in the foothills of Utah’s beautiful Wasatch mountains. Chris Atkins, Summa’s founder, was working at the U as a certified energy manager in 2000 when an effort was underway to start metering energy consumption.
It didn’t take long for Chris to realize that there was nothing available that could really be called an “integrated metering system.” He was able to find most of the components he would need, but the rest was up to him. Chris, out of necessity, became an expert on the available components and which ones could work together, and how to program and assemble them into an integrated metering system.
Later, when Chris left the U for a job with the State of Utah, the new energy manager soon realized that they now lacked the knowledge to maintain and grow their existing systems, and he convinced Chris to come back to work with them on a part-time consulting basis.
As time passed, more people became aware of Chris’s expertise, and the demands on his time continued to grow. He eventually reached the point where he had to choose between his full-time job and all of the consulting jobs he was being asked to do. That is when Summa Energy Solutions was born and Chris joined the ranks of our nation’s entrepreneurs.
In the years since, the U has remained a loyal Summa customer and has participated as a beta tester for virtually all of Summa’s new ideas. In many ways, the U has led the nation in its metering efforts.
Today, there are nearly 1,000 energy meters on a campus that includes two hospitals, sports arenas, a law school, multiple athletic training facilities, and many others in addition to the traditional student, teaching, and research facilities. Those meters include power, gas, water, BTU, steam, and chiller meters with many more planned for the future.
As a result of their metering efforts and Summas’s Vitality Energy Analytics module, the U is able to see consumption data in real-time, in addition to advanced analytics that illustrate how they can reduce consumption and save money. These tools have helped them save well over $3.5 million over the last decade in energy costs, and they continue to look for ways to decrease their dependency on non-renewable energy sources.
The U is a growing, dynamic and forward-thinking university. Their administrators continue to build new facilities and upgrade the old ones. Research efforts at the U have yielded significant advances in medical treatments, nano-technologies, artificial limbs and organs, artificial intelligence (AI) and many other areas.
All of these changes and efforts place new demands on energy systems and Summa continues to work with the U to assure that their metering systems are moving forward as fast as they are.