CUPR Project makes improvements to lighting, HVAC

Photo of the Fresno State Library on Sep. 1. The first phase of the Central Utility Plant Replacement (CUPR) Project began in May, installing safety fencing in two large areas of campus. (Eric Martinez/The Collegian)

The Division of Administration and Finance provided the first of the now monthly updates on the status of the Central Utility Plant Replacement (CUPR) Project in a Campus News submission on Oct. 31. 

The update announced significant improvements to LED lighting; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and controls; domestic hot water; and the utility distribution system.

“We are pleased with progress so far… And thank everyone for their patience and support as our campus moves away from fossil fuel use and toward a more sustainable future,” the news release said.

LED lighting and sensors have been updated in 22 campus buildings to automatically turn off after 30 minutes if no movement is detected. The change is expected to contribute to a 30% reduction in energy consumption, according to the news release.

Multiple buildings on campus, including Engineering East, Phebe Conley Art, Family and Food Science, Music, Peters Business and South Gym, have already had these lighting fixtures and switches installed, which are currently in the process of being programmed.

The energy management systems (EMS), which monitor and control HVAC systems, and HVAC have been upgraded in 10 campus buildings. 

Controls are nearly completed in Speech Arts, Family and Food Science, McKee Fisk, Engineering West and Grosse Industrial Technology, and the timeline for remaining buildings is available online.

All buildings are currently scheduled to be completed by fall 2023, except for the newer areas of the Music Building, which has no current expected completion date.

New heat pumps have been installed in 14 campus buildings that require hot water year-round to support the domestic hot water (DHW) load. The pumps are intended to fulfill the year-round need with energy efficiency.

Underground distribution piping has been installed to connect buildings to the new central plant to provide heating and cooling to campus buildings. CUPR Project construction previously delayed turning on heating on campus until Nov. 7.

These pipes, referred to as lateral lines, include chilled and hot water lines, of which the chilled water line is in progress at the Music Building while the lateral lines to the Agricultural Mechanics Building and the Satellite Student Union will be installed next.

When the work is completed, new concrete will be poured in to restore sidewalks. This has already been done by University High School and the Maple Mall, where the fencing previously in place throughout the semester has been taken down.

This piping is expected to reduce natural gas use to 73%, according to the news release.

While construction continues, audible warning devices have been stationed at the Library and near the Armenian Genocide Memorial to alert visually impaired pedestrians about the most critical construction crossings on campus, according to Public Information Officer Lisa Bell. 

The devices alert and emit a unique locator tone to visually impaired pedestrians. Further information and instructions for how to use them are available through Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).

As of now, no changes or updates have been made to the previously established CUPR Project timeline, according to Bell. 

“We are constantly monitoring and working closely with the P3 contractor to review the overall critical path schedule, but as with all construction projects, there can be delays or impacts associated with equipment, materials, labor, weather and other unforeseen project delays,” she said.

Updates will continue to be posted online and on the Facilities Management Twitter account. The Fresno State app, available from the Apple Store and Google Play, includes a 3D interactive map to help students, staff and faculty navigate the campus amidst construction. 

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