February 27, 2018

Innovative Projects Bring Community Colleges a Competitive Edge

In the drive to create effective enrollment strategies, community college administrators recognize that their facilities can be an asset in attracting and keeping students – but funding campus improvements is a challenge. An energy performance contract (EPC) may offer you just what you need in today’s competitive environment.

As admissions officers seek to attract high school graduates planning their post-secondary education, community colleges do have a major advantage over the competition – proximity.

Getting high school students onto campus early helps successful recruitment, college leaders have told us. Community colleges do this in several ways. One strong strategy is to offer educational enrichment opportunities – community colleges that have good science labs, for example, have had success with this route, offering programs that local high schools do not have the resources for.

Rockland Community College Draws in the Neighborhood

Another strategy is to welcome the community onto the campus for public events or recreation. At Rockland Community College (RCC), for example, the Eugene Levy Fieldhouse hosts many events that attract local residents, from high school track and field meets and graduation ceremonies to robotics competitions and house and garden expos. As part of the RCC-Ecosystem project, a lighting retrofit in the facility will be creating a more welcoming and efficient environment on campus.

Creating and maintaining a dynamic campus with up-to-date facilities is undoubtedly challenging and costly. But to improve your campus facilities and attract potential students, an EPC is a useful tool – an EPC can fund needed asset renewal and also be leveraged to finance desired upgrades, as RCC learned. And in combination with effective incentives procurement, an ambitious energy project that makes your campus more attractive is within reach.

Incentives Contribute to Project Success

Incentives can make a serious difference to a project’s bottom line. RCC is receiving $1.1 million in rebates from Orange & Rockland Utilities (O&R) for its upgrade to a CHP system, lighting upgrades, computer load management initiatives, and its integrated building energy management system.

In its employee newsletter, O&R explains the RCC project and the incentives that are helping to fund campus enhancements.

“This project covers almost every corner of the RCC’s 629,000 square-foot campus and includes new lighting for nine buildings and all parking areas. The work also involves enhancements to the college’s energy-load management systems and the installation of a new combined heat and power (CHP) system. O&R’s rebate will help offset the cost of the generators that support RCC’s new CHP system. (…) O&R is dedicating $1.1 million in efficiency rebates toward an $11.1 million project that will transform RCC’s campus. Never before has O&R granted a rebate like this.”

In the loop about changes in incentives offerings, Ecosystem’s incentives specialists are able to identify the best values in a dynamic market. As they follow the real-time changes in the incentive landscape, they may modify a project in the design phase to capitalize on the most up-to-date incentive programs. These busy experts work to the end to maximize your bottom line. In fact, in many cases Ecosystem exceeds incentive targets. For RCC, Ecosystem exceeded targeted incentives by 18 percent.