News & Announcements

Ohio Lean Buildings Program Seeks to Make Region Greener

CSU works with State of Ohio to provide free energy audits for local organizations

Significant cost savings and emissions reductions can be achieved through conducting simple energy audits of buildings. However, most non-profits and small businesses do not have the budget flexibility to hire outside consultants to conduct the audits or implement recommendations.

In an effort to assist local companies and organizations in taking advantage of this opportunity, Cleveland State University partnered with the State of Ohio to conduct free energy audits of area buildings, identifying simple fixes and low cost recommendations that could conserve energy and reduce operating costs. The university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering received a grant through the Ohio Lean Building Program, managed by the University of Dayton, to train students on conducting ASHRAE Level 2 audits, the standard in the industry, and then partnered with other local universities and non-profits to conduct the studies.

“We were able to assist local organizations in better assessing energy use, while also providing a tremendous, real-world training opportunity for our students,” says Dr. Mounir Ibrahim, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering.

The teams completed studies of facilities at Cuyahoga Community College, Case Western Reserve University and CSU. They also partnered with the Cleveland 2030 District, a non-profit dedicated to helping commercial buildings in downtown Cleveland and University Circle reduce energy consumption and improve operational efficiency. All participants received a full report of performance and areas for improvement as well as a list of recommendations to reduce energy use.

“CSU is dedicated to improving environmental quality in all aspects of operations and this opportunity was a perfect fit with our broader sustainability efforts,” notes Constantin Draganoiu, manager of utilities and energy at CSU.

“These audits provide concrete actions that organizations can take to conserve energy, reduce their environmental impact and control costs, which are simply invaluable to any building owner,” notes Cynthia Cicigoi, executive director of the Cleveland 2030 District. “We are proud to partner with CSU to extend this opportunity to our members and hope to continue to work with them in the future to provide additional services to neighborhood institutions.”

Moving forward, Ibrahim’s team will assess the data collected from their audits, as well as information collected by the University of Dayton, to identify trends and best practices that can assist in improving the overall auditing process. The team is also seeking additional funding to conduct a new round of audits with local community partners.

“This effort is a perfect example of how a university can work with its community to provide significant value both to its students and society as a whole,” Dr. Ibrahim adds.