University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

UND receives professional association award for steam plant project

The University of North Dakota has received the 2020 Sustainability Innovation Award for their public-private partnership with Johnson Controls to build a new steam plant. The award is from APPA, a professional association for facilities management professionals in education.

The Sustainability Innovation Award is designed to recognize and promote unique and innovative sustainable practices in the educational facilities and campus environments.

Faced with facility challenges of aging infrastructure and a lack of funding to address these issues, UND entered into a public-private partnership with Johnson Controls. This saves money for UND and transfers risk from the university to the private partner. Central to the program is the replacement of the century-old coal-fired steam plant. Through the partnership, Johnson Controls is designing, building and will operate and maintain the new state-of-the-art natural gas-powered steam plant, transforming the way energy is generated and used throughout campus. Additionally, the program retrofits buildings across campus to reduce energy consumption — upgrading building automation, lighting, equipment and HVAC. Together, the program will save over $1 million per year.

“This was a unique solution for higher education in North Dakota,” said Mike Pieper, associate vice president for facilities at UND. “I would like to thank our public-private partnership team, state and local officials, UND leadership and facilities staff for their support and dedication.  The project’s success was truly a team effort. That success has resulted in other P3s in the North Dakota University System, and has allowed us to pursue other P3 solutions for UND.”

The APPA Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award was introduced in 2012 to reflect APPA’s 2008 Sustainability Statement, which encourages the creation and maintenance of a sustainable campus environment.

Other recipients of the 2020 Sustainability Innovation Award include Brown University, Louisiana State University, Auburn University, and The Pennsylvania State University. Award recipients will be recognized August 3 during the 2020 APPA Virtual Facilities Summit.

APPA, previously known as the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, promotes leadership in educational facilities for professionals seeking to build their careers, transform their institutions, and elevate the value and recognition of facilities in education. APPA is the association of choice for more than 18,000 educational facilities professionals from 1,300 educational institutions in North America and internationally. APPA is recognized as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer.