Innovative leaders working to save energy, improve public safety, and meet labor force demands recognized by the WSU Energy Program. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council and the BOC porgram are proud sponsors of the Energy Facilities Connections conference and the award. 

This information is shared courtesy of the WSU Energy program. 

Challenges are less daunting when we leverage lessons of others who have solved similar problems. Local leaders who are taking innovative steps to save energy, improve public safety, and meet labor force demands shared their ideas at the recent Energy/Facilities Connections Conference hosted by the WSU Energy Program. Their efforts earned them Energy/Facilities Innovations Awards, sponsored by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council.

University of Washington – Bothell

The combined UW Bothell & Cascadia College campus is new and modern, but is experiencing growing pains. Commuters fill the two garage facilities to capacity, which causes poor traffic flow and backups. In turn, drivers become frustrated, which increases the risk for accidents where car traffic and pedestrians try to use the same spaces at the same time.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Tony Guerrero, developed a vision comprised of several strategic projects to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety on campus.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) were installed in crosswalks. This system includes motion sensors that activate flashing LEDs when pedestrians enter the crosswalk. These lights are piercing and difficult for drivers to ignore when activated by an approaching pedestrian. The lights are also highly visible to pedestrians, which may make them more aware of their surroundings when crossing the road. There have been no pedestrian-involved accidents since the system has been in operation.

LED area lighting was added in the covered levels of the parking garages so drivers and pedestrians can see better and feel safer. This upgrade is particularly beneficial in areas that are farthest away from natural lighting sources. By adding daylight and occupancy sensors to the already-efficient LED lighting system, this improvement also enhances energy savings by providing illumination only when needed.

Vehicle sensors were added in the parking garages to monitor traffic flows and illuminate signs to indicate how many spaces are available on each level. Color LEDs over each parking space indicate if a space is available, full, or designated for carpools, ADA accessible, or other special cases. If drivers don’t see a green light down the row, they can quickly move on. These upgrades have reduced the frequency and duration of traffic jams in the parking garages. Reduced wait and idle times also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Melanie Danuser, left of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, presents the EFC Innovations award to Tony Guerrero, University of Washington, Bothell.

Finally, a mobile parking app lets drivers check parking availability in real time, before they even arrive on campus, so they can plan ahead to find an available parking spot.

South Seattle College

For tech tourists, the new smart buildings in the Puget Sound region are visitor attractions on par with the Microsoft campus and Nintendo headquarters. These buildings use complex and interconnected technologies to ensure that the people who work in them are comfortable and productive, so facilities managers with specialized knowledge are needed to run them.

But as the pace of smart building development accelerates, the availability of qualified people to manage them is dwindling. Industry leaders have identified a looming gap in the next 10 years of qualified facilities management personnel in the region.

To address this need, an innovative Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Building Science Technology was created. Victoria Hardy, Sustainable Building Science Technology Faculty Coordinator, mentions three unique features of this degree: it builds on technical Associate degrees, is delivered in a hybrid format that is 80% online and 20% face-to-face one Saturday a month, and is designed for working adults with experience in the built environment and veterans with STEM backgrounds.

According to the program website, “The Sustainable Building Science Technology BAS program is a unique bachelor’s degree designed to meet the needs of industry by providing professionals an understanding of building function and project finance, further enabling them to maintain buildings in healthier, more durable, sustainable and economical ways.”

Melanie Danuser, left of the Northwest Energy Efficiency COuncil, presents the EFC Innovations award to Victoria Hardy, South Seattle Community College.

The program was launched in fall 2014. Since then, 49 people have enrolled and 11 have already graduated. The persistence rate in the program is 89%. Enrolled students have seen salary increases of as much as 31% and significant promotions.

Congratulations to these 2017 EFC Innovations Award winners. Public, nonprofit, and tribal organizations are eligible for consideration. Innovations must be facilities related, such as maintenance, custodial, new construction and renovation, security, grounds, and emergency preparedness. See the WSU Energy Program website for details.


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